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“They all talk. And I observe.”
Meet British novelist Natasha Brown who is behind one of the most remarkable and praised literary debuts recently.
The narrator of Assembly is a Black British woman. She is preparing to attend a lavish garden party at her boyfriend’s family estate, set deep in the English countryside. At the same time, she is considering the carefully assembled pieces of herself. As the minutes tick down and the future beckons, she can’t escape the question: is it time to take it all apart?
“I was really interested in the way different spaces in the UK operate”, Natasha Brown says. “The UK class system is very well known across the world. It’s that sort of old money in England, that kind of family. What I hoped to do was update the classic story of someone coming in from London with a slightly different class background and figuring out how to interact with these people.”
At the same time, Natasha Brown underlines not to have a political intention with her novel, even though she realises that many will identify the author with the main character:
“I am here to make stories. Bigger questions of where novels and literature sit in relation to social change and all of this are above my paygrade.”
“I think I can really understand why there is sometimes an ask for writers and people who produce content, produce art to comment on the world, and perhaps even offer answers. But I certainly see my role as really being a reflection of the times. I don’t think that because I was able to create a story that feels recognisable and feels relevant, I don’t think that necessarily means that I have a grander perspective than anyone else. I just took some of the ideas, some of the things that I have noticed and packaged them in a way that hopefully, I think, while not offering answers, really clarifies some questions.”
Natasha Brown is a British novelist. She grew up in London, and studied Math at Cambridge University, where after she spent a decade working in financial services. In 2019, she was a London Writers Award recipient, in 2022, a Burgess Fellow at the University of Manchester’s Centre for New Writing, as well as a Women’s Prize x Good Housekeeping Futures Award finalist. Her debut novel Assembly was shortlisted for the Folio Prize, the Goldsmiths Prize, and The Books are my bag Fiction Award.
Natasha Brown was interviewed by Marc-Christoph Wagner at her Danish publisher Gyldendal in April 2022.
Camera: Jarl Therkelsen Kaldan
Edited by: Jarl Therkelsen Kaldan
Produced by: Marc-Christoph Wagner
Copyright: Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2022
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