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Jacana

@ Sunday Times Books LIVE

Ken Barris and Michael Cope Talk to Karin Schimke About Writing Sunderland Together

SunderlandKen Barris and Michael Cope launched their jointly-written novel Sunderland earlier this month. Prior to its publication they were interviewed by Karin Schimke about the collaboration.

In the interview Barris explains that Sunderland “is a tale about a major South African writer who has died of brain cancer. His family hires a wannabe writer and researcher to reconstruct the fragments of his last novel left on his computer. Everything goes wrong from there.”

Read about why they decided to write the book together and how they managed the process:


Why did this book require two authors? Is it because you came up with the idea together one day over a glass of wine? Or did one of you ask the other to help out?


MIKE:
I came up with the overall idea, but I needed another voice as I was forced into doing all sorts of ventriloquism by having a character who was a writer, and his texts. Ken’s dry ironic voice was the obvious choice.

KEN: It’s a novel of two voices, and it was Mike’s conception. At his invitation, we met over breakfast and discussed it. I asked Mike the same question – why don’t you write both voices? Mike replied that he only wanted to write the fragmented work of the dying writer, which (I think) was the centre of his original preoccupation, his inspiration. I was immediately fascinated by the idea.

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