Aan Mansyur on Writing and Literature

Back in April, Sarah Werkmeister interviewed Indonesian writer Aan Mansyur for the Emerging Writers Festival. Here is what he had to say…
Aan Mansyur
Aan Mansyur

Tell us about your writing style. What are your influences, passions and the messages that you try to convey in your work?

I write poems and prose. In every piece I write, I’m trying to say different things in different ways. I often think that writing is how I discover things, rather than an exercise in telling readers things I already know.

What are some of the challenges you face in the writing process, and what tips would you give to aspiring writers to overcome these?

I’m a lazy writer. I like to spend my time reading books instead of writing. I also can’t write in crowded places unlike other writers, although I live in library which is quite packed with visitors. I try to allocate two to three hours daily at early dawn while everyone else is still asleep, to read books I admire and recommendations from my favorite authors. This is how I learn and a solution to my laziness. Reading books is good, they make me feel haunted and keep me awake so I ended up writing.

What have you been reading lately?

I recently finished Etgar Keret’s compilation of short stories, The Bus Driver Who Wanted to Be God & Other Stories. I read it together with re-reading Teju Cole’s novel, Open City. I like the way he writes and I’m expecting to learn more from him. At the moment I just start reading Clarice Lispector’s book, The Hour of the Star. I also read three poems compilation by Wislawa Szymborska, since I’m working with a friend in Poland to translate it to Bahasa Indonesia. [Read the Full Interview]

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