THE READER: Kyla-rose Smith

BY SOPHY KOHLER

Kyla-rose Smith is best known as the violinist of celebrated Afro-fusion band Freshlyground. Born in Johannesburg and now resident in Cape Town, Smith has performed with such acclaimed acts as Tumi and the Volume and the Vuyani Dance Theatre, which she left in 2003 to join Freshlyground. Her more recent projects include the Balkan-influenced Kolo Novo Movie Band and the bluesy Suitcase Hearts.

What are you reading at the moment?

I just started reading Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

What book has had the greatest impact on you?

I write what I like by Steve Biko.

What is your favourite novel of all-time?

I am not sure I have a favourite novel. I love the writing of Milan Kundera and the first book I read of his was The Unbearable Lightness of Being. I also loved The Amazing Adventures of Cavalier and Klay by Michael Chabon. I keep a copy of Pablo Neruda’s love poems close at hand.

What were your favourite books as a child?

My father used to read to us every night as children, but he would read us novels, a chapter a night. So he read us the entire Narnia series and The Hobbit and a series of books by Arthur Ransom called Swallows and Amazons. Those evening reads are among my most memorable childhood experiences. I also loved The Velveteen Rabbit as a kid.

Who is your favourite fictional character?

Kinky Friedman

What’s the last book you gave as a gift?

The Fortress of Solitude by Jonathan Lethem – I love his books.

Which book have you never been able to finish?

The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie

If you could have dinner with a dead writer, who would you dine with and where?

Dorothy Parker – somewhere French and smoke filled. We probably wouldn’t eat – just drink outrageous amounts of red wine.

SOPHY KOHLER is contributing editor.

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