DBC Pierre, Man Booker Prize winning author of Lights Out in Wonderland, answers Ten Terrifying Questions

by |September 17, 2010

The Ten Terrifying Questions have turned 50!

To celebrate this unexpected achievement (coach said I’d never ‘mount to nuffin) we’re delighted to present our 50th author…

the Man Booker Prize winning

DBC Pierre!


So here it goes… for the 50th time!

The Booktopia Book Guru Asks

DBC Pierre,

author of Lights Out in Wonderland, Ludmila’s Broken English and Vernon God Little,

Ten Terrifying Questions


1. To begin with why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself – where were you born? Raised? Schooled?

South Australia, Mexico City, and in life generally. I was about to feel that was too brief to put, but in fact it probably says everything.

2. What did you want to be when you were twelve, eighteen and thirty? And why?

A cartoonist, a photographer, and anything that didn’t involve police interviews. Had something in me that needed expressing but took a while to find a form for it – and in finding that form, by thirty I was just glad to look forward to coming out of court via the front door.

3. What strongly held belief did you have at eighteen that you do not have now?

That I was mature.

4. What were three works of art – book, painting, piece of music, etc – you can now say, had a great effect on you and influenced your own development as a writer?

The Poseidon Adventure, Evelyn Waugh’s Decline & Fall and Machiavelli’s The Prince.

5. Considering the innumerable artistic avenues open to you, why did you choose to write a novel?

I couldn’t afford paints.

6. Please tell us about your latest novel.

Lights Out In Wonderland is an allegory about capitalism and modern life, seen through the eyes of a decadent suicidee. It is packed with valuable tips for life in the modern day, and contains some great recipes for endangered species and seasonal veg. Click here to read Booktopia BUZZ editor, Toni Whitmont’s review…

7. What do you hope people take away with them after reading your work?

A glimmer of hope and a light sweat.

8. Whom do you most admire in the realm of writing and why?

Most writers for one thing or another, and just now Andrew O’Hagan for lucidity.

9. Many artists set themselves very ambitious goals. What are yours?

Just to do the best I can, to see if I can cry and laugh together with a reader over the madness of things. This is the way we survive things, by finding others who share them. (BBGuru: Love it!)

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Tell everyone you’re writing a novel, then they’ll hassle and ask about it so bloody much you’ll end up having to actually do it.

DBC Pierre, thank you for playing.

About Lights Out In Wonderland:

The spectacular third novel from Booker Prize winner, DBC Pierre: a dazzling odyssey and a universal commentary on our times.

Gabriel Brockwell, aesthete, poet, philosopher, disaffected twenty-something decadent, is thinking terminal. His philosophical enquiries, the abstractions he indulges, and how these relate to a life lived, all point in the same direction. His destination is Wonderland. The nature and style of the journey is all that’s to be decided.

Taking in London, Tokyo and Berlin, Lights Out In Wonderland documents Gabriel Brockwell’s remarkable global odyssey. Committed to the pursuit of pleasure and in search of the Bacchanal to obliterate all previous parties, Gabriel’s adventure takes in a spell in rehab, a near-death experience with fugu ovaries, a sexual encounter with an octopus, and finally an orgiastic feast in the bowels of Berlin’s majestic Tempelhof Airport. Along the way we see a character disintegrate and re-shape before our eyes.

Lights Out In Wonderland carries you through its many corridors of delight and horror on the back of Gabriel’s voice, which is at once skeptical, idealistic, broken and optimistic. An allegorical banquet and a sly commentary on these End Times and the march towards insensate banality, DBC Pierre’s third novel completes a loose trilogy of fictions, each of which stands alone as a joyful expression of the human spirit.

About The Author

DBC Pierre was born in Reynella, South Australia. He was raised in Mexico between the ages of seven and twenty-three, although he has also travelled extensively. DBC Pierre has worked as a designer and cartoonist, and currently lives in County Leitrim, Ireland. Vernon God Little, his first novel, won the 2003 Bollinger Everyman Woodhouse Award, the Whitbread Prize for Best First Novel, and the 2003 Man Booker Prize. He is the author of Ludmila’s Broken English (2006) and now Lights Out In Wonderland (2010).

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About the Contributor

John Purcell (aka Natasha Walker) is the author of The Secret Lives of Emma trilogy published by Random House Australia. The Secret Lives of Emma: Beginnings reached the top ten on the Australian fiction charts and Natasha/John was the tenth highest selling Australian novelist and third highest selling Australian debut author in 2012. The trilogy has since sold over 50,000 copies in print and ebook and has been translated into French, Korean and Polish. John has worked in the book industry for over twenty-five years. While still in his twenties he opened John’s Bookshop, a second-hand bookshop in Mosman in which he sat for ten years reading, ranting and writing. Now he is the Director of Books at booktopia.com.au.

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