An exophonic writer is someone who writes in a language other than the first language they learned. Though you might be familiar with many of these writers, you might be surprised to learn some of them did not originaly speak the language you’d assume.
Though he may have just been awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, Kazuo Ishiguro might have just reached an even loftier milestone—one of his books is being made into a TV show. Caryn Mandabach Productions, the production company behind Peaky Blinders, has acquired the TV rights for When We Were Orphans.
When We Were Orphans is a detective novel which follows Christopher Banks as he tries to solve the mystery behind his parents’ disappearance when he was growing up in Shanghai. Though Ishiguro has said, “It’s not my best book,” he only has good things to say regarding the adaptation.
Image Via Amazon
Ishiguro, who will be executive producing the series, said
TV has now become such an exciting way to tell stories – so much is possible – and I can’t tell you how thrilled I am about the company that gave us Peaky Blinders developing my London/Shanghai ‘detective novel.’
Caryn Mandabach and Jamie Glazebrook will join Ishiguro as executive producers on the project. Glazebrook had this to say,
Each one of Kazuo Ishiguro’s masterpieces contains a world so vivid that one feels one has lived inside it. When We Were Orphans is no exception – a psychological thriller like no other that extends across continents into the heart of a war.”=
Never Let Me Go, which starred Keira Knightley, Carey Mulligan and Andrew Garfield, is a pretty well-loved adaptation, so here’s to hoping the Peaky Blinders crew can match it in quality. Ishiguro may doubt the quality of his book, but hopefully he’ll like the TV show better.
It’s also kind of surprising considering, in the 1980s, he wrote a screenplay for the BBC about a guy who eats a ghost. It was called The Gourmet and it actually sounds kind of cool. When he’s not writing about artists during World War II or doomed clones, Ishiguro apparently likes writing about obsessive foodies (a.k.a. gourmets) in London searching for unusual dishes.
The main character is Manley who has a “large, formidable British upper-class presence.” He goes to a London soup kitchen inside a church armed with a wok and a butterfly net. He is on the hunt. Someone alerted him to the fact that the soup kitchen has a resident ghost.
Having already tried the world’s strangest foods, he must try food “not of this earth.” After some waiting, a homeless person approaches him with a “friendly, cheeky face.” Manley decides that this man is the ghost, and does what he came to do. He kills him. And then eats him.
It turns out the man actually was the ghost. He had been murdered eighty years prior in the same church so his organs could be harvested. It’s an idea Ishiguro eventually returned to in Never Let Me Go, where the clones are produced for their organs.
Image Via Amazon
When Manley wakes up the next morning, he is extremely sick. He gets better, drives off in his Rolls Royce, and plans a trip to Iceland. As one does after eating a ghost. Even though it’s about a snobby gourmet who’s hungry for ghost flesh, Ishiguro does touch upon some of the themes that he’s become so well-known for. Though The Gourmet was never shot, it’s such a delightfully odd story, it’s not hard to imagine. Maybe with his recent Nobel nab, the BBC will have a restored interest in the screenplay. Here’s to hoping!
British-Japanese writer Kazuo Ishiguro has been award the Nobel Prize in Literature, lauded as a writer “who, in novels of great emotional force, has uncovered the abyss beneath our illusory sense of connection with the world.”
Ishiguro was announced as the winner of the prize, worth nine million kronor (£844,000, $1.1 million), last night. His most famous novels include Never Let Me Go and The Remains of the Day, both of which have been made into successful films. He has written eight in total, and his work has been translated into over forty languages. The Remains of the Day won the Man Booker Prize in 1989.
Ishiguro was born in 1954, in Nagasaki, Japan. He moved to Surrey, England with his family as a child.
According to The Guardian, Ishiguro took a gap year between school and university, which included working as a grouse beater for the Queen Mother at Balmoral. He then read English and philosophy at the University of Kent.
He holds an MA in Creative Writing from University of East Anglia, where he studied under Malcolm Bradbury and Angela Carter. While on the course, he wrote what would become his highly acclaimed first book, A Pale View of Hills, published in 1982
Regarding the prize, the highest accolade available to any writer, Ishiguro said:
It’s a magnificent honour, mainly because it means that I’m in the footsteps of the greatest authors that have lived, so that’s a terrific commendation.The world is in a very uncertain moment and I would hope all the Nobel Prizes would be a force for something positive in the world as it is at the moment. I’ll be deeply moved if I could in some way be part of some sort of climate this year in contributing to some sort of positive atmosphere at a very uncertain time.
Permanent secretary of the Swedish Academy, Sara Danius, described Ishiguro as a writer of “great integrity.” “He doesn’t look to the side,” she said. “He’s developed an aesthetic universe all his own.”