Shiva Naipaul, the younger brother of VS Naipaul, was born in Trinidad in 1945. He died in London in 1985, of a heart attack, at the age of 40. A life cut brutally short, an end brought on, some say, by his excesses and lack of discipline. Read more
Trashing writers – trashing some of England’s leading writers, no less – is what Gabriel Josipovici felt like doing at the end of last month. Read more
I have always wanted to do this: to read, in tandem, the autobiography and biography of the same person. I managed it last weekend when I read, together, El Diego: The Autobiography of the World’s Greatest Footballer and Maradona: The Hand of God by Jimmy Burns. Read more
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
I have just finished reading Alan Bennett’s incredibly funny novella, The Uncommon Reader (read a review here), which describes what happens when the Queen suddenly becomes passionately devoted to reading. In Bennett’s best style, it is as much a wicked comedy of manners as an inspiring delineation of the pleasures of reading, of why we do, and what might come of it. Read more
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