With a staggering volume of successful creative alumni, Goldsmiths University London is an institution that takes talent seriously, and its MA in Creative and Life Writing has nurtured some of the finest contemporary literary talent. Evie Wyld, Lucy Caldwell, and Ross Raisin are just some of its most recent graduates who have gone on to find critical acclaim and success. Now a student on the MA herself, Livvy J Hooper is here to use and abuse her position as a CV writer and MA student to chat with some of the brightest stars on the course; who just so happen to be some of the brightest literary talents on the horizon. Remember these names…
Tell us a bit about yourself – who are you, where are you from? Name is Ken Kagawa, born in Japan. I’m a Gemini and enjoy staying inside my room.
How would your best friend describe you? Probably as a joker who loves drinking.
How did you ‘get into’ writing? Why do you write? I got into writing in my High School. It was really an accident. I just picked up a pen and started scribbling down my feelings, and I just haven’t stopped. As for the why, well, my life would be more boring if I didn’t write.
Who are your biggest influences? (inside and outside of literature) My parents, my friends, and Haruki Murakami and Takeshi Kaiko.
Do you have a specific technique or routine to your writing? Any strange writing habits? I don’t believe I have any strange writing habits. I just sit in front of my computer and type stuff down. That’s all.
How important is inspiration to your writing practice? Without inspiration you can’t do anything. That’s where it all starts from.
What are you working on right now? I’m working on a couple of projects. I’m re-writing the story I submitted for Goldfish, and also trying to write a story-within-a-story piece.
What are your plans for the future? What’s the ultimate goal? I quite seriously do not have any plans for the future yet. What I can think vaguely is maybe a PhD in England or a career in publishing.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers? If you chose this as a career, that means you have something inside you that screams to get out of you. Let it get out and never think about the consequence.
What are you reading at the moment? Would you recommend it? Actually, I just finished a book by David Sedaris titled ‘Holidays on Ice’. Highly recommended if you are into deranged humor told in the voice of a caring nanny thing.
If you were stranded on a desert island, what three things would you bring? A notebook, a pen, and all the writing I did. Maybe by the time I’m found I’ve managed to re-write all of them into something better.
If you were left in the woods with only the items in the room you are in, what would you build? Maybe a weapon, who knows what lurks in the woods.
If I came to your house for dinner, what would you cook? The best cinder block roast you’ve ever tasted. Or a takeaway pizza. I’m horrible at cooking.
If you were to be known for one thing and one thing only, for the rest of your life, what would you want it to be? I almost died when I was a couple of months old, and yet I spat into death’s face and lived on. I think that’s good enough to be remembered by.
Who would play you in the movie of your life, and why? James McAvoy, just because. And he was in Filth. Any actor who would star in a movie adaptation of an Irvine Welsh book is a-okay by me.
Pen or pencil? Pen, you may have to sharpen a pencil to write, but all you need for a pen is to just take off the cap.
Scones: jam first, or cream? Jam all the way. Tried cream, but it was too fattening. Maybe I haven’t gotten used to the English way of eating a scone.
What question do you wish I had asked you? Answer it now. How many re-writes should a piece of fiction go through until it’s completed? Until a reader tells me it looks perfect: left up to the writer, a fiction piece is never completed.
You can – and should – read Ken’s work on Goldfish, and check out his website.