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Tom Sharpe: I became a comic novelist by mistake

30th September 2010

Satirical author Tom Sharpe has revealed that he never planned to write comic novels and intended for his works to have a more serious tone.

In an interview with Reuters, the author explained that in his first novel he set out to attack the apartheid regime of South Africa, where he lived for ten years.

The work he ended up publishing was his 1971 novel Riotous Assembly, which deals with the story of a landowner who kills her Zulu cook, but includes dark humour such as ostriches that explode in city streets.

'I didn't care what I wrote. I saw such horrible things in apartheid, I came to detest it. That's why they deported me. I was in five prisons,' Sharpe told the news provider.

The writer, whose other works include Indecent Exposure and Porterhouse Blue, also said the authors he read before publishing his debut were more serious than funny and included Thomas Mann, Jean-Paul Sartre, Franz Kafka and Soren Kierkegaard.

In 1986, Sharpe was awarded the Grand Prix de l'Humour Noir Xavier Forneret, which is named in honour of French author Xavier Forneret and recognises black humour in literature.
 

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