Irfan Master is project manager of Reading the Game at the National Literacy Trust. His family is from Gujarat, India where his debut novel is set. A Beautiful Lie, published by Bloomsbury in January 2011, is an atmospheric, quirky and moving first novel.
What was the last book you read?
Kraken by China Mieville – He has an astounding imagination, and although I preferred The City and The City, this is still intense and different. And I’ve always loved stories about the Kraken, so that made it an easy choice.
Which book would you recommend to a younger version of you that hadn’t yet read it?
The Sufis by Idries Shah influenced me hugely. I wished I’d read it in my late teens, when my imagination was fertile and forming, but I’m happy I came to read it at all.
What was the first book you remember having a big impact on you as a child?
The Iron Man by Ted Hughes. After reading it, I realized how powerful, if used properly, language could be. The words are simple yet beautiful, the book short yet soaring and the message humble and clear. Can’t ask for more than that. To Kill a Mockingbird is on a par, for other reasons.
Can you describe your school days in one sentence?
Long minutes, hours, days of looking out the window at the blue skies, shaping stories, scribbling words, and waiting for the bell.
What is the best piece of advice you can give to any aspiring authors?
Be willful. Tell the story you want to tell. In your darkest moments, look up, release the oxygen in your lungs and start again. That’s all.
Irfan appeared at WORDfest for St. Wilfrid’s High School on Monday 4th April.