Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Peter Ho Davies

Peter Ho Davies is the author of two award-winning short story collections -- The Ugliest House in the World (1997) and Equal Love (2000) -- and the novel, The Welsh Girl.

From his Q & A with Dolly Laninga for

UIM: Today’s dramatic political and cultural landscape provides us with people who seem increasingly easy to criticize—and of course to parody. Do you foresee any projects tackling contemporary political or cultural leaders?

PHD: I’ve tried a couple, with varying success, but I don’t yet know if I’m done with them or if they’ll ever see the light of day. The challenge I’m struggling with I think is to make them somehow more than parody (though what that might be I’m still trying to figure out).

UIM: Because of the historical and political content of your work, it is clear you have a lot of knowledge in the field. But then you have also studied physics extensively, leading to a logical approach to writing stories. Do you expect that kind of logic and tight thematic content from the authors you read?

PHD: Actually, I’m by no means the most diligent researcher—imagination I hope fills in the gaps—and while I have a science background, I find the problem-solving mind set useful only in revising, not really in generating new material. As for what I look for in other writers I am drawn to some of the things you suggest—I’m interested in character motivation which is a kind of narrative logic, I suppose, and I respond to thematic resonance—but like most of us I also like to be surprised by a book or a story, to discover something different that offers fresh pleasures.

UIM: Do you find the truths you discover in fiction to be more valuable than those you pursued in your scientific studies?

PHD:...[read on]
Esther Evans, in Welsh Girl, is one of Toni Jordan's top 10 flawed romantic heroines.

The Page 69 Test: Peter Ho Davies' The Welsh Girl.

--Marshal Zeringue