The recent death of Gabriel Garcia Marquez prompted many people, not just writers, across the world and from all walks of life to highlight just what an influence he had been in their lives. His death reminded me how hugely inspirational ‘100 years of Solitude’, the book that ensured his Nobel Prize for literature had been to me. It changed the way I thought about literature. I drew on it’s themes and the concept of magical realism in the works that I created as a printmaker and it encouraged me to read other authors writing in this genre, such as Isabel Allende.
Essentially it reaffirmed my love of reading and writing. I can’t imagine a life where I didn’t read. If I was cast away on a desert island, I would have to have paper and pencil alongside my books so I could create as well as derive new ideas, thoughts and inspiration from them.
My interest in forms of writing is varied and various; I enjoy journalism as much as classic texts. Jean Rhys’s novel ‘Wild Sargasso Sea’ has been a great influence. Written in 1939, this evocative, tragic tale of the first Mrs Rochester from Charlotte Bronte’s ‘Jane Eyre’ tells the story of the life of Creole heiress Antoinette Cosway. From the beguiling Jamaican landscape to her suicide in Thornfield Hall, Rhys draws on her background and interest in Bronte’s invention. She is an insightful and prescient writer, her books were ahead of their time in how she brought to life the downtrodden and disaffected as well as the place of women in society.
For journalism it would be David Foster Wallace’s ‘A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again’. Covering everything from tennis to tornados, this collection of essays is filled with the insight, humour and technical excellence that established him as one of the preeminent American writers of our age. The essay on Caribbean cruises from which the book takes it’s title is a highlight, with the author turning the same unique mind that created ‘Infinite Jest’ to conga lines and disco dancing.