China Mieville is not a household name. Well, he's much admired in my household but that's beside the point. Mieville's writing is creative, masterful and yes, at times, weird. His imagination seems to know no bounds. He can be challenging to read, but who doesn't like a challenge in their life every now and then?
Last evening in Edinburgh Mieville answered questions about his inspirations (he includes a list of writers who inspire him in the back of every book), where his ideas come from, what jokes make him laugh, why he writes for both adults and young people and if one of his books ripped off Ulysses. He did so with charm, humor and a warm earnestness that was impressive given that he has answered these questions so many times before.
Mieville's talk focused on his latest book Railsea, an unusual take on Moby Dick if there ever was one. It's written for young adult reader's because, according to Mieville, when he was developing the story he imagined telling it to his 10 year old self. The voice in his head imagined a younger version of himself becoming immersed in the story in a way his adult self was unable to.
He's very articulate about his writing, particularly how prolific he has been over the past 5 years. It was such a joy to see him at the festival. I'll be thinking about his talk for a long time to come.