Priya Guns is an actor and writer previously published in short story anthologies, gal-dem, Spring magazine, and anonymously in the Guardian. She is a Creative Writing graduate from Kingston University. Your Driver Is Waiting is her debut novel.
Priya Guns will be reading from her new novel Your Driver is Waiting published by Doubleday on Thursday, March 9, 2023 at 8:00 PM PST. Priya Guns will be in conversation with Sarah Thankam Mathews.
Where are you writing to us from?
From Amman, Jordan. Ahlan wa sahlan.
What is bringing you joy right now, personally/artistically/habitually?
I’m enjoying having time right now. It’s been a while since that has been the case. Regardless of what I may be working on, it’s important to me to maintain my personal routine; working out, martial arting, practicing archery and growing green things. Right now, I’m drawing more. Birds, loads of fuckin birds. That’s giving me a lot of joy.
Which writers, artists, and others influence your work in general, and this book, specifically?
I’m really inspired by artists whose work screams the political. I appreciate Boots Riley and The Coup, Zack de la Rocha and Rage Against the Machine. Writers like Arundhati Roy and James Baldwin. For my debut specifically, I listened to a lot of Run The Jewels, read A. Sivanandan closely, and took inspiration recalling my life growing up poor, and then that which I learned from drivers I met around the world. Of course, there is the film Taxi Driver.
What books are you reading right now and would you recommend any to others?
I’ve been reading slower than usual – so, I’m juggling a few books and it’s taking me a while to finish them. Not because they aren’t riveting, I’m enjoying all of them, but because I’m taking everything slow at the moment. Olivia Laing’s The Lonely City; I’m really connecting with that. Michael Pollan’s This Is Your Mind On Plants; I need me some dried poppies. Started an advanced reader copy by a debut author, Tony Santorella’s Bored Gay Werewolf; this coyote (that is me) wants to be a werewolf sometime.
If you opened a bookstore, where would it be located, what would it be called, and what would your bestseller be?
So, you’re going to need your imagination for this one. I move around a lot and love adventure; my bookstore would have to encapsulate this feeling because I have a lot of favourite places.
Location: somewhere in the natural, where there are little to no people, a place you’ve been or where you dream of going (not as a coloniser, don’t leave a mess, don’t tell no one our secret). It wouldn’t be a shop per se, but you snap your fingers and POOF, there’s a mustard yellow armoire with karpuravalli growing all around it, right in front of you. In it, there’s a field guide specific to your location, a hand lens, a note pad, all you need to start a fire, marshmallows, a chair, blanket, tent and hammock. There’s also a sweet little blunt and some coffee. Some poppy tea? Let’s do that too, (thanks Mr. Pollan.) Water, yeah, of course, I got you some water and snacks.
Name of this bookshop: From the Earth to Your Soul
Bestseller: This week, the bestseller is Herman Hesse’s Journey to the East. Smoke, sip, and enjoy. 😉