Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Hanif Kureishi: White departments, ethnic doors

Alastair McKay (I know him. How? When? Where?) interviews a voluble Hanif Kureishi in The Sunday Herald. Interesting all over, especially this bit about the start of multiculturalism in 1980's England.

They thought because you were writing about Asians that the only people who would watch it would be other Asians. The TV companies then began to have ethnic departments, which I refused to go in.

"I said: I'm not going in the ethnic door, it's like apartheid to me. I'm staying in the white department, f*** you. I'm not going in that door with the Pakis.'"

The publication of Salman Rushdie's Midnight's Children in 1981 was a turning point: "One of our blokes had done it. Salman Rushdie was living in Britain, he was a British-Asian writer. That was a big moment."

Uhh. Funny how that bit about Rushdie crept in :).

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