Achille Mbembe interviewed at Chilperic

Achille Mbembe interviewed at Chilperic. Talks about his work, but also the process of writing.

Where does your writing start? 

Most of the time in my head. Sometimes from what I see, what I hear, what I read. It can start in the shower, when I am cooking or while I lie on the bed waiting to fall asleep. I can spend long months without writing anything. Things first need to boil. I need to find myself in a position where I can no longer bracket the interpellation addressed to me by reality, an event or an encounter. 

Do you take notes? 

Not really, or not all the time. I may have notebooks, but I keep misplacing them and hardly ever return to them in any structured way. My writing generally begins with a word, a concept, a sound, a landscape or an event which suddenly resonates in me. I do have a very lively mental scape. As a result, writing is like translating an image into words. In fact my books are full of images of the mind, non-visual images. But I never know in advance where these images will lead me to or whether at the end of the process I will be able to adequately translate them into words without losing their allure. It’s a rather intuitive process. That’s also why I write my introductions at the end, as I’ll only be able to tell you what the book is about once it’s written, when all the images have been curated. 

This entry was posted in Achille Mbembe. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s