is a South
African novelist and playwright. He was awarded the 2021
for his novel The Promise
shortlisted for the prize in 2003 and 2010 right about the time I
first interviewed him at his apartment in Cape Town (listen
). Damon was head boy at Pretoria Boys High School,
matriculating in 1981, and then studied drama at the University of
Cape Town. He wrote his first novel, A Sinless Season
(1982), when he was 17.
We met via Zoom to talk about his life
as a writer and how he writes novels. Among other things we discuss
his Parker fountain pen, Chekhov's brilliant short story 'The Kiss'
(hat tip to James Wood). We also riff together off John Gardner's
classic On Becoming a Novelist. Good idea to
read both if you want to get the most out of our