Which writer would want to go down in history as the overambitious bum who ruined JM Coetzee’s masterpiece? – Nthikeng Mohlele on his new novel Michael K
 More about the book!

Award-winning author Nthikeng Mohlele answers questions ahead of the launch of his highly anticipated new novel, Michael K.

In the book, his response to JM Coetzee’s classic masterpiece Life & Times of Michael K, Mohlele explores the weight of history and of conscience.

Michael K will be published by Pan Macmillan in March.

Click on the link above for more about the book!

In a Q&A on Pan Macmillan’s Facebook and Twitter pages, Mohlele chats about why he chose to write the book.

  • Scroll down or click here to view the full interview

‘I have stated in the acknowledgements page of the book, tongue in cheek, that I hope to have been a decent artistic thief,’ Mohlele says, ‘by which I mean that there remains a moral and artistic obligation on anyone who attempts or succeeds in reworking another’s work to treat such work with respect and without any sense of entitlement of recklessness.’

In the interview, Mohlele explains that Michael K is not a ‘wholesale sequel’ to Life & Times of Michael K.

‘It would have been tedious and pointless to consider reworking the Coetzee original if I didn’t/don’t believe I have something new to contribute,’ he says.

On the question ‘Why Life & Times of Michael K?’, Mohlele says he believes we need to distinguish ‘literary celebrity’ from the work created by the artist.

‘The temptation and perhaps natural instinct of younger writers or artists in general is to overdramatise the stature of the literary personality (in this case, JM Coetzee) and the canonical credentials of the novel (Life & Times of Michael K),’ Mohlele says, ‘and miss the logical, obvious or even “dangerous” intertextual connections that are inherent or possible in the close reading, examination and re-imagination of such texts.

‘I say “dangerous” because which writer, in their right mind, would want to go down in cultural history as the dumb and overambitious bum who ruined JM Coetzee’s masterpiece?’

Read the full interview:

Posted by Pan Macmillan South Africa on Thursday, February 15, 2018


Categories Fiction South Africa

Tags Michael K Nthikeng Mohlele Pan Macmillan SA

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