Diana Evans was born in London and spent part of her childhood in Lagos, Nigeria. She studied Media Studies at the University of Sussex and was a dancer in the Brighton-based troupe Mashango before becoming a journalist and author. She has written features and criticism for Marie Claire, the Independent, the Observer, the Guardian, the Telegraph, the Source, Time Out, the Stage and Harpers Bazaar, and her interviews have included Lauryn Hill, Maya Angelou and Mariah Carey. She holds a Masters degree in creative writing from the University of East Anglia.
Evanss first novel, 26a, received a Betty Trask award, a nomination for the Guardian First Book Award, and was shortlisted for the Whitbread First Novel and Commonwealth Best First Book awards. It was the inaugural winner of the Orange Award for New Writers and has been translated into twelve languages. Her second novel, The Wonder, is also published by Chatto & Windus.
This biography was last updated on 06/10/2011.
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Diana Evans discusses 26a
Q: To what degree is 26a an autobiographical novel?
A: It was inspired by a personal bereavement so in that sense it is autobiographical; and I did draw from memories and sensations from my own childhood. But I would be uncomfortable calling it a portrait or a blueprint of my life. When you are using autobiographical material in fiction, it is absolutely necessary that you distance yourself enough from the subject so that it becomes something of its own, nothing to do with you, so that the imagination can take flight and all kinds of unexpected twists and turns of plot and character come into play. This is what happened with 26a.
Q: 26a shares some qualities with magical realist fiction. Have you been influenced by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Salman Rushdie, Isabel Allende, and other magical realist writers? Or does this quality flow into your work more from African folk-tales?
A: I would not attribute either source to the 'magic realist' aspects of the novel. It's simply the way I write. I love the supernatural, and I am enthralled by writing that dares to venture into the impossible or fantastic. It's great fun and takes the writer and the reader into another world, which is ...
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