5Q Interview: Subraj Singh (Guyana) 2017 IWP resident

The Writing University conducts is a series of interviews with writers while they are in Iowa City participating in the International Writing Program's fall residency. We sit down with authors to ask about their work, their process and their descriptions of home.

Today we are talking with Subraj Singh, a playwright, fiction writer, journalist and critic from Guyana.


1. Do you have a plan or project in mind for your time at the residency?

During my time at the Residency, I plan on continuing to do research on, as well as continuing to write, a series of short plays that are based folklore from Guyana, where I am from. I will also be working on a novel for Young Adults.

2. What does your daily practice look like for your writing? Do you have a certain time when you write? Any specific routine?

I find that I work best between mid-morning and mid-afternoon. The early morning hours are for greeting the day; the late afternoon hours for bidding it goodbye. The night is for sleep.

3. What are you currently reading right now? Are you reading for research or pleasure?

Currently, I am reading A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara, purely for the pleasure of it.

4. What is one thing the readers and writers of Iowa City should know about you and your work?

My work is very Caribbean - or at least I think it is. I try to write about issues, places and people that are peculiar to Guyana and the wider Caribbean.

5. Tell us a bit about where you are from -- what are some favorite details you would like to share about your home?

The best way to know (about) Guyana, to know about its many rivers, its wild rain-forest, the colourful people in the marketplaces, the seawalls, the kites at Easter, the lights at Diwali, the smarmy politicians, the hardworking cane-cutters and everyone and everything else that makes Guyana so unique, is to visit the country itself. The second best way is to read about it. Therefore, I offer this list of some Guyanese writers whose works will definitely transport you there if you cannot make the actual trip:

Martin Carter - Poems of Resistance
Wilson Harris - Palace of the Peacock
Pauline Melville - The Ventriloquist's Tale
David Dabydeen - The Counting House
Mark McWatt - Suspended Sentences
Grace Nichols - I is a Long Memoried Woman
Paloma Mohamed - Caribbean Mythology and Modern Life: 5 Plays for Young People
Ruel Johnson - Fictions
Imam Baksh - Children of the Spider

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Thank you so much, Subraj!

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