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Lauren Beukes: “The Thing is to Take the Work Seriously, But Not to Take Yourself Too Seriously”

The Shining GirlsWamuwi Mbao from SLiPNet visited Lauren Beukes in her Woodstock studio to talk about The Shining Girls, Twitter, reviews and her literary success. She mentioned the help that she has been able to source on Twitter, including connecting with a cop in Chicago who consulted on The Shining Girls and her next book, Broken Monsters.

Mbao asked Beukes about how she handles reviews and she said that she’s gotten good at skimming reviews and stopping reading them if they’re negative: “The thing is to take the work seriously, but not to take yourself too seriously.” She explained that in the beginning she was reading them all to see how people were responding to the book, but now she is at a point where she can just skim them.

WM: So if I were to meet you at a swanky publisher’s cocktail party (assuming such things exist) what things would I learn about Lauren Beukes in the first five minutes?

LB: That I find literary celebrity very uncomfortable, and I would really like it if you had something to say other than “OMG I love your work so much!” or “I hate your work so much” as the case may be. Let’s talk about other people’s books because I really don’t want to talk about my own, ever again! (laughs)

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