Guy Gunaratne: ‘In London, you learn to code-switch … I’ve always thought of that as a superpower’

Claire Armitstead in The Guardian:

When Guy Gunaratne was a teenager he would catch the bus home from school in north-west London, listening out for the chat of his fellow passengers. “Like this one kid who said to his friend, ‘Come on, you’re moving like molasses.’ That rattled in my head for so long. It’s so inside,” he says. “London can be an unkind place to live and grow up in, but I just love the way we spoke, and to make something out of where you’re from, loving the kind of things people usually forget or dismiss, is a thrilling experience.”

Gunaratne’s debut novel, In Our Mad and Furious City, was longlisted for last year’s Man Booker prize and shortlisted for a string of others before winning the Jhalak prize and the International Dylan Thomas award for writers under 40 last month. The Dylan Thomas jury described it as astounding, provocative and enticing, but not an easy read. “People bring their own baggage to my baggage and that’s good,” responds the author, who packed his novel with things people would prefer to dismiss or forget, not least the murder of off-duty soldier Lee Rigby, who was hacked to death in broad daylight in a south London street in 2013.

More here.