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Sartre sinks in for Mark Crick
Mark Crick’s new book, Sartre’s Sink, is a DIY manual ‘written’ by some of the most famous authors ever to pick up a pen. It is a follow-up to his cookbook, Kafka’s Soup, and Crick is appearing at the Kingston Readers’ Festival to discuss his acts of literary ventrolquism.
What can people expect?
Readers will hopefully discover a refreshingly playful approach to the classics and a new way of looking at their favourite writers.
What gave you the idea for Kafka’s Soup and Sartre’s Sink?
Despite owning lots of cookery books I realised that, when making a recipe, I only ever read the list of ingredients. When a friend asked what would make me read more than just the ingredients I said that, if the world’s great writers ever got together to produce a cook book, I would read it cover to cover. She challenged me to try writing such a book and Kafka’s Soup was the result. When I finished it, I found there were so many writers whose styles and themes I would have loved to have included in the book I decided to see if the idea of combining literature with cookery could work as well with something as unlikely as DIY.
Who was the easiest writer to ‘become’ and why?
Probably Raymond Chandler. His voice and Philip Marlowe’s hard-boiled character have become an archetype with which we are all immediately familiar.
Who was the hardest writer to ‘become’ and why?
The hardest writer to imitate was perhaps Dostoyevsky – madness and paranoia.
I have so many favourite books but would like to single out Treasure Island, by Robert Louis Stephenson. For reasons of longevity, I first read it when I was eight and have lost count of how many times since.
Least favourite book?
If I don't like a book, I usually abandon it. Much worse are the great books that I somehow never have the stamina to finish. The Count of Monte Christo was too long and Finnegan’s Wake beyond my understanding.
Which character from literature most resembles you?
Holden Caulfield from the Catcher in the Rye.
Favourite opening line?
Dickens creates wonderful opening lines. “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times ...”, the unmistakable opening sentence to A Tale of Two Cities continues over nine lines. An epic opening for an epic tale.
Literary influences The Italian writer Italo Calvino and the French writer Raymond Queneau influenced me in the ideas for Kafka’s Soup and Sartre’s Sink. Them and then, of course, all the writers whose styles were pastiched in the two books.
Who/what first inspired you to become a writer?
Reading and being read to first inspired me to become a writer. The encouragement of my first publisher was hugely important in giving me the courage to show my work to a wider audience.
How do you write?
I like to write early in the morning best of all, sometimes in longhand but increasingly straight onto my laptop. I usually sit at the window overlooking my garden in south London.
Any advice for budding writers?
Write. Read your work aloud. Rewrite. Find a routine that enables you to write every day.
Mark Crick, John Lewis, Kingston, May 8, 7.30pm, £8/£5, visit kingston.ac.uk/krf