First Writes - Elaine Proctor, author of Rhumba

The books tells the story of a Congolese boy’s life in London

Give us five words to describe Rhumba?
‘They had horns and tails’.

Can you name one author who should be more famous than they are now?
Mark Gevisser is the brightest, most original witness to the complicated condition of being a global South African. Read his amazing biography of Thabo Mbeki for starters then move on.

What was the first book you read?
The Little Mermaid by Hans Christian Andersen.

What was the last book you read?
The Chemistry of Tears by Peter Carey.

Which book makes you cry?
A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry which describes desperate lives as they are – without sentimentality – but with an insistence on their value.

Which book makes you laugh?
The Blandings Saga by PG Wodehouse because of the completeness of the imagined world and, of course, the passion for the pig.

Which dead author do you wish was still alive today?
Shakespeare. He could make sense of things. Again.

What one thing would you change about the publishing world?
I would have things move double time.

What plans do you have for book number two?
An old lady is found dead at the bottom of a muddy dam. We search for her killer amongst the dark and dirty (but also transcendent and mysterious) world I know best. We arrive somewhere at once shattering and altogether fresh.

Rhumba is out now published by Quercus.

Elaine Proctor - Rhumba

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