Damon Galgut quotes:

  • I go for long walks in Newlands Forest in Cape Town, and I go to the Turkish baths on Sunday mornings.

  • I think there's something very dark in the South African psyche. I think we live a lot of the time in a state of a very low-grade civil war; the levels of violence in South Africa are extremely high. In a way, the civil war that never happened is being played out in a covert way, so we live with a lot of very ugly things.

  • I've been wanting to write a book about what goes into creating a novel, and the story behind 'A Passage to India' is especially interesting.

  • Memory is fiction . . . All memory is a way of reconstructing the past. . . The act of narrating a memory is the act of creating fiction. [Armitstead, ClaireDamon Galgut talks about his novel In a Strange Room." The Guardian. 10 September 2010.]"

  • Memory is fiction . . . All memory is a way of reconstructing the past. . . The act of narrating a memory is the act of creating fiction. [Armitstead, ClaireDamon Galgut talks about his novel In a Strange Room. The Guardian. 10 September 2010.]

  • Literature at its fullest takes human nature as its theme. That's the kind of writing that interests me.

  • I work by hand, with a fountain pen, in bound notebooks I buy in India.

  • Yoga helps me with a composed and serene state of mind, which is good for writing.

  • Almost overnight, white people have gone from being very powerful to potentially irrelevant. Their future in South Africa is not what many had envisaged, so it involves a lot of reinvention.

  • It's expected of novels that they should explain the world and create the illusion that things are ultimately logical and coherent. But that's not what I see around me. Often, events remain mysterious and unresolved, and our emotions reach no catharsis.

  • Perhaps cliche is nothing more than the weight of the past pinning down your mind. In this sense, imaginative freedom is a way of finding the future, though it isn't so easy to do.

  • Writing is not like acting, where you can pull these little stunts that create a particular effect. Words are all it is about, and the way you use words has to be individual and particular to you.

  • I'm fascinated by how much has changed from one generation to another. There are young people growing up now for whom apartheid is just a distant memory and the idea of military service is an abstract notion.

  • I wrote large chunks of 'The Impostor' and 'The Good Doctor' on a beach in Goa.

  • Traveling is one of few zones of experience where you are not directly plugged into the world around you. You're not part of the society you're passing through.

  • There's no theme, no moral to be learned, except for the knowledge that lightning can strike from a clear blue sky one morning and take away everything you've built, everything you've counted on, leaving wreckage and no meaning behind. It can happen to anyone, it can happen to you.

  • Most writers battle with periods of being blocked; it's almost an occupational hazard. But in the writing of his last and greatest novel, 'A Passage to India,' E. M. Forster got stuck for nine years.

  • I like to believe that if you pay close attention to the sentences as they unfold, they will draw you in rather than pushing you away.

  • Generally, writers have very uninteresting lives.

  • Being gay immediately placed me outside the values of the society I was growing up in. Apartheid was a very patriarchal system, so its assumptions seemed foreign to me from the outset. I've always had the advantage of alienation.

  • I think the impulse took shape in early childhood when I was very ill with lymphoma for a number of years. I spent a lot of time in hospitals and sick-rooms, being read to by various relatives, and I learned to associate books with love and attention.

  • Unrequited affection is very painful for the lover, but it can have unexpected, creative consequences.

  • No emotion was supposed to cross the great divide of class. Affection could erase all hierarchy; in this was the danger, and the delight.

  • Race and class were a kind of destiny; very little could dent them. Morgan himself had been decanted back into the vessel that had made him.

  • Any radical change or trauma always makes for interesting subject matter, but then all stories deal, to some extent, with the disjuncture between past and present.

  • For the first five years of my life, things felt pretty good. A lot went wrong after that, family-wise.

  • Writing is very good for household tasks. Because you'd rather fix a dripping tap or paint an old wall - you'd rather do almost anything than sit and write. I have to reach a point of obsession in order to write, and so I find starting a book incredibly difficult.

  • Being gay myself, I'm naturally drawn to the interactions between men rather than men and women.

  • It is always an attractive moment when curiosity takes hold.

  • Something in a writer's brain needs to watch everything with a detached, amoral eye.

  • If I had done this, if I had said that, in the end you are always more tormented by what you didn't do than what you did, actions already performed can always be rationalized in time, the neglected deed might have changed the world.

  • A journey is a gesture inscribed in space, it vanishes even as it's made. You go from one place to another place, and on to somewhere else again, and already behind you there is no trace that you were ever there.

  • The only way you can be universal is to be sure you are very specifically local.

  • In his clearest moments he thinks he has lost the ability to love, people or places or things, most of all the person and place and thing that he is. Without love nothing has value, nothing can be made to matter very much.

  • Things happen once only and are never repeated, never return. Except in memory.

  • Poetry was syllable and rhythm. Poetry was the measurement of breath. Poetry was time make audible. Poetry evoked the present moment; poetry was the antidote to history. Poetry was language free from habit.