David Profumo drops in on Martin Amis  

Posted on by Jonathan Beckman

On the first occasion I met Martin Amis I was impelled to thrust a single upturned finger in his direction. He was out, leg before, victim of a googly delivered by a coke-crazed Australian clad in luminescent jeans. It was a dubious decision, and the author of Money gave me a disdainful leer. More recently, […]

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Interview with Alice Munro

Posted on by Jonathan Beckman

Alice Munro is one of Canada’s leading writers. Her work is popular throughout North America, she is a regular contributor to the New Yorker, has been shortlisted for the Booker Prize and compared – favourably – with Henry James and Proust. It would be reasonable to expect such a woman to display more than a […]

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Against Entropy

Posted on by Jonathan Beckman

J G Ballard was born in Shanghai in 1930 and interned by the Japanese from 1942-1946. After his release he came to England and for a short time studied medicine at King’s College, Cambridge. His previous novels include The Drowned World, The Crystal World, Crash and The Unlimited Dream Company. Empire of the Sun is […]

Freedom of the Press?

Posted on by Jonathan Beckman

Every so often, the paper boy oversleeps, or the railwaymen, or NALGO or the civil servants go on strike, and I find myself sitting at the breakfast table with, as I usually put it on such occasions, ‘nothing to read’. Never mind that I have never read Goethe, or half the Michael Innes books, or […]

Germaine Greer Talks to Primo Levi

Posted on by David Gelber

Primo Levi was born in Turin in 1919 into a family that he describes as being of the media borghesia. He graduated with honours in chemistry shortly before the racial laws prohibited Jews from taking academic degrees. In 1943, after the German occupation of northern Italy, he joined a group of partisans in the Val […]

Brian Appleyard Talks To Tom Stoppard

Posted on by David Gelber

His lisp cannot easily be transliterated. The letter ‘R’ starts somewhere at the back of his throat and stays there. Words containing the letter are, therefore, afflicted with a strange hiatus, an unresolved gurgle. The effect is dandyish and childish at the same time: a paradox, in fact. One of many. ‘I want it to […]

John Haffenden talks to Emma Tennant

Posted on by David Gelber

One of today’s most exciting novelists, energetic, quick-thinking, positive, Emma Tennant is a writer to whom easy labels will not apply. Her published novels include Hotel de Dream, The Bad Sister, Wild Nights, and Queen of Stones (soon to be filmed by Channel 4), all of which have been praised for their poetic intensity, visionary […]

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Alastair Morgan talks to Anthony Burgess

Posted on by David Gelber

Anthony Burgess was interviewed in a suite in Claridges at the end of a year in which his publications reaffirmed his involvement with music, showed him engaged with beds, and found him turning to Freud, Trotsky, and science fiction for his novel The End of the World News (Hutchinson £8.95). The interview takes for its […]

Interview with Iris Murdoch

Posted on by Tom Fleming

Born in Dublin, Iris Murdoch was brought up in England and took a degree in classics at Somerville College, Oxford, in 1942. After two years as an Assistant Principal at the Treasury, she worked for a further two years (1944-46) with the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration in Belgium and Austria. She held the […]

An Interview with Alexander Zinoviev

Posted on by David Gelber

Akexander Zinoviev was I suppose a ‘good’ Party memberwhile he remained in the Soviet Union. Of course there were times when he slipped up – when he didn’t play the game cleverly enough. His dissertation on logic was finally accepted after ‘major’ qualifications. It wasn’t that his arguments were confused. No. Zinoviev forgot to mention […]

An Interview with Barbara Pym

Posted on by Tom Fleming

Editor’s Note: Barbara Pym died on the 11th January 1980. An afternoon with Miss Pym involved first catching a train to Oxford, transferring there to a line that Dr Beeching forgot, and finally casting vainly around for a taxi in the middle of deep country which conceals the village of Finstock. At the door of […]

An Interview with Norman Mailer

Posted on by Tom Fleming

In 1962, Diana Trilling wrote of Mailer’s first novel, The Naked and the Dead as being his first and last novel to be set outdoors. Not taking into account his Armies of the Night, which is not a novel in the conventional sense, but a series of reflections and commentaries on various aspects of American […]

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Making Ends Meet: An Interview with Norman Mailer

Posted on by David Gelber

A lot of funny stories about Norman Mailer have reached us from across the Atlantic through the years, each one adding to the increasingly complex sum of his legend: Mailer Stabs Wife, Mailer Runs for Mayor, blacks the eye of Gore Vidal, gets arrested for disorderly conduct, boxed John Updike at two a.m. on a […]

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Paul Taylor talks to Beryl Bainbridge

Posted on by David Gelber

The day I dropped in on her at her Camden Town home, Beryl Bainbridge was feeling a bit below par. The previous day (a Sunday), she had found herself in the kind of situation that might have been patented by Binny, the heroine of her Whitbread award-winning novel, Injury Time. An ex-boyfriend of her daughter […]

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Marina Warner, whose novel ‘The Lost Father’ has been shortlisted for the Booker Prize, talks to Naim Attallah

Posted on by David Gelber

I think I was influenced by my father through wishing to react against his prescription of what my life should be like. He was a very regular upper middle class man, he had been to Eton and to Oxford and was a Colonel in the army. During the war he met my mother, who came […]

An Interview with V S Naipaul

Posted on by Frank Brinkley

I drive to Wiltshire on a rare sunny English summer’s day to interview V S Naipaul in his country home. All his books, fiction and non-fiction, are to be reissued (by Picador in Britain and Knopf in the USA), and this interview anticipates the publication next month of his new novel, Half a Life. Before […]

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Diana Athill at Home

Posted on by David Gelber

I first met Diana Athill in 1984 when the publishing firm she had co-founded with André Deutsch forty years previously was in gloomy straits. The glory days of the Fifties and Sixties when ‘André Deutsch’ had been synonymous with the best kind of literary fiction seemed more and more distant, as the firm struggled to […]

The Old Devil Interviewed

Posted on by Jonathan Beckman

Kingsley Amis was just back from his hols which had been ‘wet outside and in’. We met at the offices of his publishers, Century Hutchinson. Every five minutes (or so it seemed), some glamorous young publishing person would stick her or his (usually her) head around the door to check that Amis was ‘all right’. […]

Jan Dalley meets Anthony Burgess

Posted on by Tom Fleming

Little Wilson and Big God, the first part of Anthony Burgess’s autobiography, is published this month on the author’s 70th birthday. It begins with a birth, and ends with one: in 1917 little Jackie Wilson, or John Burgess Wilson, was born in Manchester into a mixed English and Irish Catholic family, ‘more of a Celt […]

Theory of (Almost) Everything

Posted on by David Gelber

‘In his youth Albert Einstein spent a year loafing aimlessly. You don’t get anywhere by not “wasting” time – something, unfortunately, which the parents of teenagers tend frequently to forget.’ So begins the first lesson of the international bestseller Seven Brief Lessons on Physics. It was something that its author, Carlo Rovelli, learned in his […]

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