Kazuo Ishiguro: I think I learned an awful lot from writing songs. I wrote over a hundred songs. I still write song lyrics, actually, right now for Stacey Kent, a Grammy-nominated jazz singer. But back then, when I was a teenager, I wrote over a hundred songs. And I think that was part of my apprenticeship to be a writer of fiction. And many of the things I learned writing songs — being this bad singer-songwriter — I think became fundamental to my style as a fiction writer. And one of the things you point out — there is something about that kind of singer-songwriter tradition that is very first-person. More than that, I would say there is something of the atmosphere of just one singer communicating with just a handful of people in a room with an acoustic guitar. That kind of atmosphere, that intimacy, is something I still go for when I’m writing a novel. Also, I think there are many other things I learned at that point. I think the fact that, when you’re writing a song, you don’t have many words to use. I mean you’re very restricted in terms of the amount of words you can use. And because there is performance in music, along with the words, you have to leave a lot of things out in the words. If the words are complete unto themselves, as poetry on the page would be, the thing will not work. So this idea that a lot of the emotion, a lot of the meaning of what you’re doing, is hidden, is between the lines, necessarily had to be between the lines. You have to avoid making things too explicit in the words to leave space for the performance, for the music and the performance — the singing, if you like, and the music — so that they had something important to do. I think these are all things that I took into my writing style, and I think that remains core to my style today.