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The nature of empathy: An interview with Caryl Phillips

Pages 590-612
Published online: 08 Feb 2017


Caryl Phillips is widely regarded as a leading contemporary writer, particularly in the field of postcolonial, transnational, and diasporic literature. Born in St Kitts in 1958, he was four months old when he migrated with his parents to England, where he grew up in Leeds. He is now the author of ten novels, including Cambridge, The Nature of Blood, and A Distant Shore. In this interview he discusses his most recent novel, The Lost Child, which combines a number of different narratives, including a fictionalised account of Emily Brontë and the origins of Wuthering Heights. Other topics include Phillips's writing methods; the experience of being an outsider; the role of women in his novels; the relations between fiction, biography and autobiography; the nature and limits of empathy; and the example set by Chinua Achebe.

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