Malla Nunn Interview

Malla Nunn published A Beautiful Place to Die (a detective novel set in 1950s South Africa) last year, and has just returned to Sydney after a book tour through the US and Canada. She spoke to Winsor Dobbin for "The Sydney Morning Herald".

A new paperback edition of A Beautiful Place To Die will be released in Australia by Macmillan on April 1 and Nunn has already made a lot of progress on the second novel of what she hopes will become a series featuring Cooper, a '50s man with new-age sensibilities; and a few skeletons in his closet.

"If I'd written about a man truly of his times, I don't think we'd really like him - it's a difficult line to tread," she says. "He's a guy that I hope existed somewhere, in some form, in 1950s South Africa."

At that time, the colour of a man's or woman's skin mattered far more than guilt or innocence - and as someone who lived in the apartheid state I was amazed at how well Nunn captured the sense of malevolence and hopelessness.

"I drew heavily on the experiences of my parents and my grandmother," she says. "There is something about people who consider themselves to be above everyone else - a casual brutality about their lives.

"They may not even set out to be like that but fear, fear of the unknown, drove people to enact those laws."

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on March 26, 2009 10:45 AM.

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