The young man writes with the articulacy of top literature masters and he recently wrote and published his debut novel, Piggy Boy’s Blues. What many don’t know is the artist started writing the book before he even wrote music. A former literature student at the University of Witswaterand, Touré started writing short stories at a young age, but has only since mastered the art. Described as a laborious process, Piggy Boy’s Blues was meant as a cathartic exercise but progressed to be so much more.
“Initially the book was supposed to be a therapeutic exercise to get rid of pain in my own life. It was never going to see the light of day. But over time it became more effective and I started working it and working it. I sent it to Jacana and they accepted the book, the manuscript at least,” Touré said.
But when he reread the book earlier this year, he hated it. “I made plans to go to East London to revise it, to cut out the glut, cut out the noise and make it more concise, but when I got there, I realised it was a complete rewrite,” he said.
“When you’re young and reading Virginia Woolf and John Steinbeck, you’re going to be like: ‘Yeah, I’m going to prove to the world I’m brilliant’ and so you overwrite, you over-articulate things that should be more subtle. I made the decision to simplify things for the book to be slightly easier to read because it was quite impenetrable.”
The book depicts the life of a young boy who leaves the city of Johannesburg and goes to a small town in the Eastern Cape, called Alice. He goes to live with his uncle, but when he gets there he realises his uncle lives with another man. Not wanting to give too much away, Touré said, “There’s this weird tug-of-war obsessive relationship that happens, which ends in an interesting result.”
Asked if there are any biographical bits in the book, Touré takes a moment before commenting. His answer was beyond his years: “I think all writers, on some level, even if you’re writing science fiction, draw from a wealth of knowledge and experience.
“There’s an amazing quote from a movie, where the author says: ‘Imagination doesn’t come from nowhere, it’s rehashed from things you’ve gone through, things you’ve seen’. Nothing comes from nowhere,” he said. “For me, there’s a lot more truth in fiction than in a memoir.”