HE WAS AN odd fellow, J L Carr. I first met hm in 1988 at a writers’ conference at York University. Despite the fact that he was a celebrated novelist who had been twice shortlisted for the Booker Prize, he attended as a normal fee-paying member of the Society of Authors and seemed genuinely surprised to be Eted by the rest of us. After that I used to visit him regularly at his modest house in Kettering, where he not only wrote his books but also published them, in addition to maps and works by other authors. His list included an eclectic series of eccentric little books such as Carr’s Extra-ordinary English Cricketers and Jane Austen’s A History of England by a Partial, Prejudiced and Ignorant Historian. The TLS described them as ‘mind-enlarging micro-tomelets’.