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Prim? Moi? A radio debate about the writer as good (or bad) citizen

There was a time when I took a swaggering, what-the-hell atittude towards a writer’s responsibility to those close to him. Few authors speak up for decorousness or kindness, in fact, preferring to trot out the hoary old cliché, said by Czeslaw Milosz and quoted by Philip Roth, “When a writer is born into a family, the family is finished.”

Now I am not so sure – indeed my attitude to hurting others through one’s writing verges on the prim.

How far should you go? I was part of a discussion of this urgent question on Radio Four’s Off the Page, with Antonia Quirke and Bill Coles, chaired by Dominic Arkwright.