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Graeme Macrae Burnet interview

Graeme Macrae Burnet interview

Graeme Macrae Burnet reveals how his life has changed since His Bloody Project was longlisted and his determination to create memorable protagonists that the reader will be rooting for despite their flaws or misdeeds.

This is part of our series of Man Booker Prize 2016 longlisted author interviews. 

What has it been like to be longlisted?

My life changed for the better the moment my publisher, Sara Hunt, called me with the news. As a less-established writer, all you want is for people to have the opportunity to read your work, and the longlisting has already brought His Bloody Project to the attention of readers all over the world. To have a panel of judges deem your work to be of sufficient quality to sit alongside the other fantastic writers on the longlist (past and present) is genuinely humbling. It’s been absolutely thrilling.


What are you working on next?

I’m working on a sort of sequel to my first book, The Disappearance of Adèle Bedeau, but I’ve got a couple of other stand-alone ideas percolating in the background as well.


What are you reading at the moment?

I’ve just finished Martin MacInnes’s Infinite Ground, an inventive, playful and beautifully written debut. Now it’s time to read some of the other longlisted books, I think.


What is your favourite Man Booker-winning novel?

It would have to be a toss-up between James Kelman’s How Late It Was, How Late, which I love for the rich texture and rhythm of its prose, and my fellow longlistee JM Coetzee’s Disgrace.


You are a great admirer of Georges Simenon, has he influenced the way you define the crime novel and how you write?

Simenon has had a huge influence on the way I write. To me he is the supreme craftsman. His evocation of place is incredibly vivid; his story-telling is concise and subtle; and he has a great ability to burrow deep into the psychology of his characters. And all this is done in sparse, deceptively simple prose. He is also far more than a crime novelist. Many of his romans durs (non-Maigret books) are really character studies rather than crime novels. As a reader, it’s character that most engages me, and, as a writer, it’s very important to me to try to create memorable protagonists that the reader will be rooting for despite their flaws or misdeeds.

Graeme Macrae Burnet