Brody was born in 1943, and has taught social anthropology
the Universities of Belfast, Cambridge and Toronto. He has worked with
Inuit and Indian organisations, and most recently on Bushman history
and land rights in the Southern Kalahari. Non-fiction publications
include Inishkillane, Maps and Dreams,
and the acclaimed The
other side of Eden – hunter gatherers, farmers, and the shaping of the
world (2000), as well as documentary and feature films.
with Hugh Brody
How long did it take you to write all the stories in your collection?
Hugh Brody: They
were written over a period of about two years, but with a rather
furious concentration of work on them in a three month period.
TSR: Did you
have a collection in mind when you were writing them?
HB: Not the first ones,
but then I realised there could be a set if I did two
TSR: How did
you choose which stories to include and in what order?
HB: The choice was
made as I wrote rather than by looking at various stories
and wondering which ones might go together. The order seemed to be of
central importance, though I always knew which was first and which
spent much of the last months on the collection thinking through the
does the word "story"
mean to you?
that is told and has a magic. Something that reaches out and
holds because of the events it offers and follows. Something that
both the fearful and comforting, though always there is a reassurance
the story exists, is told. I have heard such amazing stories from Inuit
and other indigenous peoples, in their homes, around fires, in tents at
night. These seemed to be the archetypes. Yet I know that there is a
story in so many places, in a multitude of forms.
TSR: Do you
have a "reader" in mind when you write stories?
HB: Not often. What I write seems to come from within and insist on happening
TSR: Is there
anything you'd like to ask someone who has read your collection,
anything at all?
HB: I always want to know what happened
as you read. How the mind was taken,
how it felt to be reading. And I often wonder how the last story does
does not hold the reader. I have some special preoccupation with the
effect of that story, the wolf, the couple, and want to know if it
to be special to reader too. A worry and a hope, I suppose.
TSR: How does it feel knowing that people are buying your book?
HB: Are they? If they
are, it is just a joy.
TSR: What are
you working on now?
HB: I am working on
a new film, about my work over the past ten years in
southern Africa, and on writing that is still unclear to me.
TSR: What are
the three most recent short story collections you've read?
Maupassant collection; P G Wodehouse's Mulliner stories; John Berger's Once