Category Books

Dubravka Ugrešić – remembering Baba Yaga

One of the great joys of ageing is the way your mind becomes like a massive filing cabinet, much of the time simply a jumble of drawers and labels and yellowing manilla folders. But then, a miracle happens and you make a connection between an idea you are having and a perfectly apposite reference somewhere […]

Vale Amos Oz – 4.5.39 – 28.12.18

Deep in the midst of writing my new book, I seem only to surface in this blog whenever  a favourite writer with whom I have had the pleasure of sharing a conversation dies. Sadly, the subject of the following conversations is  Israeli novelist, essayist, short story writer and peace activist, Amos Oz, who died of cancer […]

Vale Justin Cartwright: 20/5/43 – 3/12/18

South African-born, London-based novelist, journalist and television producer Justin Cartwright died recently at the age of sevety-five. I was saddened to read his obituary in the Guardian newpaper. I have met and interviewed many writers over the years but Justin stood out as being open and warm whenever I had contact with him. His parents […]

Patrick French, Biographer of VS Naipaul

Nobel and Booker Prize winner VS Naipaul has died at the age of eighty-five at his home in London. I never interviewed him myself, but I did interview his biographer Patrick French at the 2008 Edinburgh International Book Festival. Patrick French has won awards for his biography of the explorer Francis Younghusband and for his […]

Vale Australian writer, Peter Temple, 1946-2018

Peter Temple has died  a few days before his 72nd birthday. My friend, crime writer Shane Maloney, reports that Peter had been diagnosed with a brain tumour six months ago. I first met Peter in the very early 1980s when he was editor of a new magazine called Australian Society. I wrote one my first […]

Vale American postmodern writer William Gass

The New York Times reports: William H. Gass, a proudly postmodern author who valued form and language more than literary conventions like plot and character and who had a broad influence on other experimental writers of the 1960s, ’70s and beyond, died on Wednesday in St. Louis. He was 93. Here is a transcript of […]

Morris West, a “singer of forgotten songs” republished and a conversation revisited.

News today that the back catalogue of one of Australia’s best selling writers, Morris West (26 April 1916 – 9 October 1999) has been reissued by Allen and Unwin. All of his titles were  out of print.  I went to interview him at his home on Sydney’s northern beaches in 1998 (I think) on the […]