Author and filmmaker Guy Gunaratne was born in Neasden. His debut novel In Our Mad and Furious City, is set in North-West London, examines race and class, and won last year’s Dylan Thomas prize and longlisted for the Man Booker prize.
In this Locked In episode, Guy speaks to Blueprint Collective member Savannah Mullings-Johnson about his complicated relationship with Neasden, gaining the confidence to not explain or contextualise his writing and how art becomes richer when it’s infused with an amalgamation of cultures, languages and senses.
Although writing was a natural extension, Guy didn’t grow up with the ambition to be a novelist and never thought it was a path for him. He recalls an early encounter with White Teeth, by fellow Brent author Zadie Smith, that motivated him to value and create art inspired by where he’s from.
“Picking it [White Teeth] up at the library and reading the first page; where it references Cricklewood and Willesden Green. I remember that being a shift in my mentality that the world around you is worthy of the page”
How have Brent’s legends been coping during the ongoing pandemic, and what might it mean for their work and practice?
In this new video series, guest hosts from the Blueprint Collective catch up – in a socially distanced way, of course – with legendary musicians, artists, athletes and activists from across the borough to find out how they’ve been affected and perhaps even inspired by the COVID-19 crisis. Along the way, we dig deeper into our guests’ connections to Brent, discovering what they’ve been reading, watching, hearing and absorbing during this strange and frightening time – and hearing more about how they’re responding.
This forms part of Brent 2020 Unlocked.