The List: Author Mia Arderne’s influences

Future, Dirty Sprite 2

My writing and life are primarily influenced by the rapper Future Hendrix and his seminal work, Dirty Sprite 2. I realise he is the zenith of toxicity. But it is what it is. I find his themes of nihilism, excess and mental violence very relatable. As I write this now, I feel like I’m writing the wrong answer to an important question, like I should be mentioning Rupi Kaur or something. But that would be a lie, for me. Thought it was a Drought informs the way I’m wired and the way I create. 

André Brink, Duiwelskloof 

This was my introduction to magic realism. I read this book in high school and it made me want to write. It was foundational for me. It may be worth mentioning that at the time I was in high school (which is when I used to read the most), there was not as much representation for women of colour authors. So my tastes have been almost infuriatingly white and male. Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction, Leonard Cohen’s Beautiful Losers, and Chuck Palahniuk’s Fight Club were all influential for me. I modelled myself on André Brink for years; I still consider Duiwelskloof a masterwork of the genre, on par with Federico García Lorca, Gabriel García Márquez and Isabel Allende.

Buhle Ngaba, The Girl without a Sound

Later in life, I was blessed to discover this work. The Girl without a Sound, as well as Blood Labyrinth (a graphic short) by Buhle Ngaba, helped me to find my voice again through its very messaging. For a long spell, I didn’t feel like I could or should speak, and this book was healing to me in unimaginable ways. Both the aforementioned works are landmarks in magic realism. She creates a world I want to live in with words and transcendent imagery (the team behind the visual execution is also top-tier).

Frank Ocean, Blond

I tend to draw more from other mediums outside reading, as this list demonstrates. I do consider Blond to be a work of literary excellence. This album was hugely influential in the writing of Mermaid Fillet. I lived inside these songs while writing and editing. During the writing process, I didn’t read fiction at all. I just listened to this album, indulged my vices, and consumed the musings of online content geniuses and prophets like Grassroots Barbie, Ling Sheperd and Isaac Mutant. 

Chase Rhys, Kinnes

The last book I read that I liked was Kinnes by Chase Rhys. It takes something outstanding to make me read a book after the fifth page. Kinnes made me ugly-laugh and want to turn the page. I read it shortly after writing Mermaid Fillet and it was the first time I felt truly represented. It gave me confidence to submit the manuscript I’d written. Also, because I come from a theatre/playwright background (I used to read a lot of Reza de Wet — I adore her work as well), I loved the structure of Kinnes and could visualise it playing out.

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Mia Arderne
Mia Arderne is a Cape Town-based writer with bylines at Cosmopolitan, the Mail & Guardian, Marie Claire, GQ, City Press and more. Her writing explores the politics of gender, race, identity, sexuality and mental health. She works as a journalist at Viewfinder, Accountability Journalism. Her debut novel Mermaid Fillet is published by Kwela, NB Publishers.

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