JP O'Malley in More Intelligent Life:
Mr Kureishi's favoured themes of race, class, sexuality and religion all inform the pieces compiled in “Collected Essays”, released by Faber & Faber in Britain earlier this year. Dating from 1980, these essays (most of them previously published and unrevised, unfortunately) tackle politics, cultural changes and the role of the writer and reveal Mr Kureishi's knack for argument. They show his ability to be both provocative and convincing.
Mr Kureishi spoke to More Intelligent Life about these essays, his thoughts on David Cameron and why it’s racist to not attack a religion.
What does a good essay do for the reader?
An essay isn’t a work of non-fiction, it isn’t journalism as such. It’s written to inspire, provoke and ultimately to give pleasure to the reader. Essays differ from fiction, in that you don’t distribute yourself amongst your characters. There is one single full-on point of view.
You say you don’t read many novels anymore. Why?
I write more as I get older, and I’m more committed to writing. I’ve got three kids now. I also read stuff that seems to me to be more serious, I suppose. I’m interested in psychiatry, psychology, psychoanalysis, philosophy and politics—I’d much rather read about that than a novel, although I am a big fan of fiction and storytelling.