The blurb of my edition of Stet — Diana Athill’s riveting, funny and must-read memoir about her 50-odd years as one of London’s best-known publishers — has this quote from the Washington Times: “Athill has written a book that should please anyone who cares about 20th century literature and its creators.” Read more

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Is writing fiction any different from writing non-fiction? After having published my new novel after two books of non-fiction, I’ve been getting asked this a lot.

My answer – and I know it might sound dilatory/evasive is this: It isn’t, fundamentally, different. Read more

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This is, as with most things to do with this blog, selective and arbitrary. Given that we are in the second week of the last month of the last year of the decade known as the noughties, some stock taking is necessary. But I am terrible at taking stick, awful at anthologizing, because I feel guilty about leaving things out. Read more

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Roth or Updike, Updike or Roth… I have never been able to make up my mind about whom, between the two titans, I admire more.

I have always been torn between these two heroes of mine, and I have been thinking about the matter again after having reviewed John Updike’s posthumously published collection, My Father’s Tears & Other Stories. Read more

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This is my year of feeling bereft. Some months ago, John Updike, one of my great heroes, passed away. And last month, as I went from panel discussion to reading at the London Book Fair, I heard of the (expected and yet crushing) news of the death of JG Ballard. Read more

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One of my heroes is dead. John Updike, one of the greatest writers the 20th century produced and the luminous chronicler of the lives and loves of small-town America, has died of lung cancer at the age of 76. Read more

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