Jim Crace is the author of many novels including Continent, The Gift of Stones, Arcadia, Signals of Distress, Quarantine (1998 Whitbread Novel of the Year; shortlisted for the Booker Prize), Being Dead (2001 National Book Critics Circle Award), The Devils Larder, Six, The Pesthouse, All That Follows and Harvest. His novels have been translated into twenty-six languages.
He was elected to the Royal Society of Literature in 1999; he has also received the E.M. Forster Award, and the Guardian Fiction Prize. He lives in Birmingham, England where he is a keen amateur birdwatcher and also enjoys live music at small venues.
Jim Crace's website
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Author Jim Crace talks with Lisa Guidarini about his decision to retire from fiction writing, the biggest influences in his long and storied career, and how his novel Harvest is wrapped around timeless themes.
Harvest seems to be set in an era when English society is evolving from use of land to grow crops to enclosed pastures for animals. What about this specific time period did you find compelling as a setting for your novel? Could it have been set in any other time and place?
The time period isn't all that specific, in fact. I wasn't trying to write a novel that was medieval or Tudor or Jacobean. If the novel has a "setting" at all then it's Shakespeare's England. So it's prose fiction based on stage fiction. But, if the exact time and location of the story are not important to me, the subject matters are. And the subject matters are timeless. Small farmers all over the world are still being forced from their land, edged out by timber sharks or soy barons or coffee magnates or housing developers. And those farmers may well end up as refugees or asylum seekers in towns or cities which resent them. So, yes, this novel could have been set in any other time or place – except for the fact that I had a local and personal ...
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