Rencontre avec Hugo Hamilton, écrivain irlandais
Hugo Hamilton is an Irish writer born in 1953. His five novels and one collection of short stories all reflect on issues of cultural divisions and belonging. His first three books featured a Central European setting. In 1992 Hugo was awarded the "Rooney Prize for Irish Literature". After a year spent in Berlin on a cultural scholarship, Hamilton completed The Speckled People (2003), a German-Irish memoir of his experience growing up in Dublin with a German mother and a fervent Irish nationalist father, who insisted that his children should not speak English. This account of a family locked in a "language war" touches on many of the divisive issues of the 20th century.
Sang impur, the French translation of The Speckled People won the "Prix Femina étranger" and Il cane che abbaiava alle onde, its Italian translation, won the "Premio Berto" in 2004. It also appeared on the New York Times notable books list. Hamilton's second memoir The Sailor in the Wardrobe continues the story of this complex dual upbringing. In May 2007, German publisher Luchterhand published Die redselige Insel, in which Hamilton retraces the journey Heinrich Bà¶ll made in Ireland. The book is slated for publication in English in 2008. His latest novel Disguise picks up the central theme of identity by exploring the life of a three year old Jewish boy who replaced a German child of the same age, lost in a bombing at the end of World War II.
I met him in a library in his town of Dun Laoghaire, a small sea-side resort next to Dublin.