INGLES: Genre-bender - EntornoInteligente / Chinadaily / British writer Geoff Dyer addresses the ongoing 11th Bookworm Literary Festival in Beijing.[Photo provided to China Daily] British writer Geoff Dyer, whose works cover a wide range of subjects and styles, speaks to Mei Jia.

When he first visited China five years ago, British writer Geoff Dyer had an unusual request.

He wanted to play ping pong.

“I just love playing it”, he says as he recalls being defeated by an 80-year-old Chinese player at the Shanghai Writers Club.

But he claims he is the champion of his group of writers in Los Angeles, California, where he now lives.

“Some tech startup companies in LA have ping pong tables,” he says. “I see them but they are open only to their staff.”

Dyer is an award-winning writer whose works cover a wide range of subjects and styles.

He was winner of the 2011 National Book Critics Circle Award for Criticism; the E. M. Forster Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2006; and he was the GQ Writer of 2009.

Some critics hail him as one of the finest British writers in recent years. And he has won recognition from established writers like Zadie Smith and Japan’s Haruki Murakami, the author of Norwegian Wood.

Murakami, who is hugely popular in China, too, is the translator of Dyer’s But Beautiful: A Book About Jazz into Japanese.

Speaking about Murakami, Dyer jokes, saying: “If your works get translated by Murakami, in Japan, you become a god.”

Separately, he was involved in a writer-in-residence project aboard the American naval aircraft carrier George H.W. Bush for two weeks and turned out a book twice as long as it had to be.

“I had quite a lot to say. It was an unusual place, and it was an amazing time, an experience that one couldn’t have as a civilian,” he says, adding that another place that he would like to go would be the international space station.

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