Interview with longlisted author Sinan Antoon


When did you begin writing Index and where did the inspiration for it come from?


The first seed of the novel was an idea that occurred to me in 2006. It revolves around writing the history of a single minute in the war. Humans alone do not tell the stories of their deaths and lives, but they are joined by other creatures that were annihilated by the war: animals, plants, and even inanimate objects. I was fascinated by this idea then, but I set it aside because I was busy and worked on two other projects instead.


After finishing those, I thought of the general framework and structure of the novel, and its details  began to crystalize.

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

There was a mental writing stage that preceded the actual writing for me. During this time I think a lot about the characters and details, I live it without writing much, except for titles and key sentences. When I begin the actual writing, many issues will have fermented.

I began writing Index in 2014 and finished it in New York in the last days of 2015.

How have readers and critics received it?

The reviews in the papers were very positive. And it was celebrated by many readers on social media and in their private messages.

What is your next literary project after this novel?

There is a play that I began working on and hope to finish in the coming months. I also recently decided on my next novel as I was torn between three ideas/subjects.

(Read this interview in Arabic here)