Author and filmmaker Guy Gunaratne was born in Neasden. His debut novel In Our Mad and Furious City, is set in North-West London, examines race and class, and won last year’s Dylan Thomas prize and longlisted for the Man Booker prize.
In this Locked In episode, Guy speaks to Blueprint Collective member Savannah Mullings-Johnson about his complicated relationship with Neasden, gaining the confidence to not explain or contextualise his writing and how art becomes richer when it’s infused with an amalgamation of cultures, languages and senses.
Although writing was a natural extension, Guy didn’t grow up with the ambition to be a novelist and never thought it was a path for him. He recalls an early encounter with White Teeth, by fellow Brent author Zadie Smith, that motivated him to value and create art inspired by where he’s from.
“Picking it [White Teeth] up at the library and reading the first page; where it references Cricklewood and Willesden Green. I remember that being a shift in my mentality that the world around you is worthy of the page”