Interview with longlisted author Renée Hayek


When did you begin writing The Year of the Radio and where did the inspiration for it come from?

There isn't anything specific which inspires my novels. News from here and there, people we meet, random faces, life experiences, books we read. From this strange mixture which forms our lives, characters emerge, first foggy, then little by little they take shape, and become live people with feelings. We see them in our dreams and they are constantly with us until we become distracted from everything else but them. They insist that we write their stories. Everything can be a subject for writing. A person whose story we read in a piece of news no more than three lines long can suddenly become inseparable from us.

Where do we gain inspiration for the novel? Who knows? For me, it is like magic. 

Did the novel take long to write and where were you when you finished it?

I began writing the novel in Autumn 2014 and it took 9 months to write. I wrote it in my house in Beirut.

How have readers and critics received it?

I can talk about the critics and readers from where I live. They loved Yara, spoke about her as if she was a girl they actually knew, and they felt sorry for the pain she felt. Some of them tried to guess who she might be in real life.

What is your next literary project after this novel?

It is a world which hasn't revealed itself to me yet. I will wait.

(Read this article in Arabic here)