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Kuzhali Manickavel

Kuzhali Manickavel was born in Winnipeg Canada and moved to Chidambaram, Tamil Nadu, India when she was thirteen. She is widely published on the Internet and in print magazines in the UK, Europe and the USA.

Short story collections

Insects Are Just Like You and Me Except Some of Them Have Wings (Blaft Publications, 2008) 

Reviewed by Nuala Ní Chonchúir

Interview with Kuzhali Manickavel

The Short Review: How long did it take you to write all the stories in your collection?

Kuzhali Manickavel: I think these stories took about 4 years to get together.

TSR: Did you have a collection in mind when you were writing them?

KM: Not really. I thought it might be nice to have a collection out someday but it was really one of those "someday" thoughts.

TSR: How did you choose which stories to include and in what order?

KM: I'd really like to say that I thought about the story order very carefully and had a definite plan about what would go where. But the truth is that I just sent what I had to my fantabulous publishers and they took it from there. So I guess that is a kind of plan, in a way, but not really. I have a feeling I'm going to fail this interview.

TSR: What does the word "story" mean to you?

KM:  That's a really good question. I'm still figuring that out - so far, I think everything has a story. A crumpled piece of paper, diseases, torn fingernails, the act of killing something. I don't think that really answers your question.

TSR: Do you have a "reader" in mind when you write stories?

KM: No.

TSR: Is there anything you'd like to ask someone who has read your
collection, anything at all?

KM:What made you buy the book? Do you wish you had bought something else? If not, will you make other people buy multiple copies? C'mon, support a Third World writer. We're very fashionable, you know.

TSR: How does it feel knowing that people are buying your book?

KM:It's nice, a little strange though because I don't know who these people are.

TSR: What are you working on now?

KM: I'm just writing when I can. Someone gave me that piece of advice recently and I really like it.

TSR: What are the three most recent short story collections you've read?

KM: I'm afraid I'm not much of a reader right now, not because I don't want to but because I've developed this embarrassing habit of falling asleep every time I try to read. Coupled with my bad memory, I have to say that I can't remember the last three short story collections I read though I'm really sure I read something at some time. I just totally failed this interview, didn't I.