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Ask the authors: Alain Mabanckou

Berlin's International Literature Festival continues, tomorrow (Sep 5) with two events featuring Alain Mabanckou. Keep checking back throughout the festival for more chats with literary luminaries.

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Photo by Hermance Triay

The French-Congolese journalist, poet and teacher is best known for his incredibly hilarious fiction – about porcupines, serial killers or bar flies – which won him countless accolades. He’ll be participating in two events – an encounter with a Brazzaville bar (Sep 5, 19:00), and a panel discussion featuring voices from the Congo (Sep 5, 11:00).

Describe yourself in three words starting with the same letter…

Perseverant, pragmatic, pessimist (sometimes).

Your favourite character?

Holden Caulfield from the Catcher in the Rye; he’s as naïve as me when I was a teenager.

Your recurring literary nightmare?

The first sentence.

A book you wish you had written?

One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez.

Your first memory of writing…

It was a poem written in the Congo with the aim of seducing a girl. It didn’t work out, but I kept the poem and published it later in France.

If I weren’t a writer I’d be…

A musician (guitarist).