Stephen Simm is, firstly, a playwright. But he’s also a lot of other things. He’s a screenwriter, a satirist, a homeowner, a former soap opera writer and a devoted Johannesburger. Now, following the success of his debut novel Miss Kwa Kwa last year and with a second book due out before Christmas, he’s also one of the country’s most promising authors.
Do you see yourself as a political satirist?
I consider myself a satirist, yes, although I don't like to be limited to politics. I do, however, believe that the political is personal, so I'll satirise it as much as other things that influence daily life. 'Political satirist' sounds so serious, somehow - I'm just as happy writing about a cringe-worthy sexual encounter as a cringe-worthy politician.
What is Johannesburg to you, in a word?
You were first a playwright. Do you see yourself going back to the stage?
Absolutely. I'm writing a new play at the moment. Rather than raising eyebrows, I'm hoping to shave them.
Where do you write?
On my walls.
What could you not do without?
Music. Coffee. Cigarettes (I know, I know).
Two books in as many years is prolific. Are you a workaholic?
Not according to my bank balance.
What is your current obsession?
World War II, and that cereal that Spar makes with hazelnut chocolate filling. It's always wise to combine a depressing obsession with a sugary one.
How can you mend a broken heart?
That's what friends are for.
What does SA need more of?
People who put principles before personalities.
And less of?
Personalities who put their personal interests before the public good.
What is the most annoying question you are asked in interviews?
'Will there be another book?' (Only annoying because when asked I’ve usually just finished the last one, and am still recovering!)
How do you usually answer it?
Yes, of course.
Can I have R5, 000?
Of course you can, but may you? (No.)
What are you working on next?
Peace, love and understanding... and thrashing my stupid neighbour who keeps hooting in the street. Every day, the hooting.
Stephen Simm’s first novel, Miss Kwa Kwa is available from all good book shops. The sequel, Miss Kwa Kwa: The Dark Side of the Braai, will be released later this year.