John Sutherland

Nibs Drawn

Literary Rivals: Feuds and Antagonisms in the World of Books

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Richard Bradford’s 2011 biography of Martin Amis got a royal bollocking from reviewers. Mine, I recall, was one of the few favourable notices. The unfavourable many emptied buckets of excrement on the author’s head. David Sexton, in the Evening Standard, for example, wrote:

The problem isn’t that Bradford is hostile. He’s not, he’s servile. The problem is that as a biographer he is so inept. His book is unreadably poor. He can’t write for toffee … What can Martin Amis feel now, to discover that such a dimwit should be fated to be his biographer, forever first in his bibliography? 

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