Category Books

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 […]

The late Helen Dunmore talks with me and Jim Crace on The Writing Life.

English novelist and poet Helen Dunmore has died aged 64. I only met her once for this conversation at the Edinburgh International Book Festival in 2004. With Birmingham writer Jim Crace  we spoke of their different routines and talismans and attitudes to the blank page in the solitary space of the writer’s room. And rereading […]