By mimicking the way memory works, a writer can actually write in a fluid way-one solid scene doesn't have to fall on another solid scene, you can just have a fragment that then dovetails into another one that took place 30 years apart from it. It doesn't have to be fully realized, it can be a glancing, shadowy reference to something that you'll come back to later, and then it moves on.
When you are young, things like your moral stance and your political position seem very important. I'd spend long nights with my friends sorting out moral and political positions that we thought would take us through adult life. And part of that would end up meaning we despised some people not for what they did, but for the opinions they professed to hold.
I think the judging process is full of integrity, compared to some other prizes around the world. The fact that they change the panel of judges every year keeps it from becoming corrupt. I think it's very difficult if you've got judges for life obviously relationships are cultivated between judges and authors, and publishing houses.
While it is important to have principles, you have far less control of what happens. These principles and positions only get you so far, because what actually happens is that you don't carefully chart your way through life. You are picked up by a wind every now and again and dumped down somewhere else.
I went many years without even associating Nagasaki with the atomic bomb. Then in the 1980s, when there was a new concern about CND and so on, Nagasaki took on this symbolic value. I felt my Nagasaki had been appropriated. It was suddenly this burning city of ashes. For me, it was where I lived until the age of 5.
I felt I had almost written myself into a corner. You could say I'd rewritten the same novel three times and I thought I had to move on. The success of the book, and then the movie, had by then also created a commercial expectation and I remember touring America and seeing people in the audiences who I thought might not want to read the books I wanted to write next. My constituency had become broader, but more mysterious to me.