5 Questions with Omar Musa, Author of Here Come the Dogs

here come the dogsCity Lights welcomes Omar Musa to the bookstore on Wednesday, March 30. He’ll be reading from his new book, Here Come the Dogs: A Novel, published by The New Press. More about Omar, and his answers, below.

Event: Wednesday, March 30, 2016, 7PM at City Lights Bookstore, 261 Columbus Ave., San Francisco, CA 94133.

About Here Come the Dogs: In small-town suburban Australia, three young men from three different ethnic backgrounds—one Samoan, one Macedonian, one not sure—are ready to make their mark. Solomon is all charisma, authority, and charm, a failed basketball player down for the moment but surely not out. His half-brother, Jimmy, bounces along in his wake, underestimated, waiting for his chance to announce himself. Aleks, their childhood friend, loves his mates, his family, and his homeland and would do anything for them. The question is, does he know where to draw the line?

Solomon, Jimmy, and Aleks are way out on the fringe of Australia, looking for a way in. Hip-hop, basketball, and graffiti give them a voice. Booze, women, and violence pass the time while they wait for their chance. Under the oppressive summer sun, their town has turned tinder-dry. All it’ll take is a spark.

As the surrounding hills roar with flames, the change storms in. But it’s not what they were waiting for. It never is.

About Omar Musa: Omar Musa is a Malaysian Australian rapper and poet from Queanbeyan, Australia. The author of Here Come the Dogs (The New Press), he has opened for Gil Scott Heron and performed at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe in New York City. He attended University of California, Santa Cruz. He has released three hip-hop albums and two poetry books, and he received a standing ovation at TEDxSydney at the Sydney Opera House.

omar musa


City Lights: If you’ve been to City Lights before, what’s your memory of the visit? If you haven’t been here before, what are you expecting?

Omar Musa: I have never been before. I am expecting to meet a hearty blend of book lovers, scallywag nerds, sharp-minded reprobates and rabble rousing trash talkers–in other words, my type of people.

CL: If your book had a soundtrack, what would it sound like?

OM: Hm, I did make a playlist for the book [with Largehearted Boy], but let me say “HyperParadise” by Australian electronic duo Hermitude. Chunky, bass-heavy, dangerous beats with just the right amount of tenderness and soul. Yessir!

CL: What’s the first book you actually finished reading?

OM:  I have the worst memory, but I suspect it was Grug, an Australian kids picture book by Ted Prior. Grug was a weird little fella: basically a walking, striped haystack. He was the man! Trippy stuff. My parents also gave me a couple of books of illustrated Aboriginal myths that I used to pore over a lot. I also remember loving A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin when I was about eleven. Recently re-read it and it’s still brilliant.

CL: If you didn’t have your current job, what might you do?

OM: A jeweler or an orangutan conservationist. Or maybe the benevolent dictator of a secret, lost island. Sheeeeit, seeing as Donald Trump has a chance of becoming President of the USA, maybe you guys should just install me as benevolent dictator here. I’d surely do a better job than that nutjob. I promise I would run a tight ship: decriminalized weed in all states, marriage equality and free laksa (Malaysian curry noodle soup) for all.

CL: Name a few things you’d require if stranded on a desert island for an undefined period of time (and, yes, no wifi). 

OM: A never ending stockpot of pho. I am a fiend for that stuff. And maybe a Spanish textbook. I keep promising myself I’ll learn Spanish but I never seem to get around to it.


Join us for an evening with Omar Musa this Wednesday, March 30, 2016 at City Lights Bookstore. For more about Omar, check out his official site and follow him on Twitter. For more events this Spring at City Lights, go to our complete calendar.

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