Terence Blacker
Terence Blacker




Terence Blacker


An Informal CV

Born:
5th February 1948 on a farm in Suffolk.


Educated:
My brother Philip and I were taught by a governess Miss Curtis until, at
the age of seven, I was sent to Hawtreys, a grim preparatory school which
is now mercifully defunct. I then attended Wellington College and, to
everyone's surprise, got into Cambridge where I read English,
emerging with a mediocre degree.


Early Career:
As a boy, I was obsessed with horses - riding them and following
their progress in the racing pages. For a while I rode as an amateur jockey
with plans of earning a living as a racing correspondent. But I discovered,
rather later than I should have, that the racing world was not for me. I then went
to Paris and worked in two bookshops. The first was a little shop called Shakespeare
& Co, which was - and is - a famous gathering-place for people who dreamed of being writers, or wanted to meet, talk to or sleep with writers. When I needed to earn some
money, I went to work in a much smarter bookshop called Galignani. I sold books
to carious famous people who were living in Paris at the time - Orson Welles,
Marlene Dietrich, Graham Greene and the Duke of Windsor. In 1972, I returned
to London and got a job in book publishing. I worked, first as a salesman, then
an editor, ending up as editorial director of a paperback imprint. I left to
become a writer full-time on 11th March 1983.


First Experience of Writing:
While in publishing, I began to write a satirical column under deep cover for
the book trade magazine Publishing News. The persona I inhabited was a
nightmarishly yobbish, snobby, randy ambitious paperback editor called
Jonty Lejeune who was fictional presence in real events (an idea stolen
from Auberon Waugh's diary in Private Eye).


Writing Career:
In my early years as a writer, I would write almost anything to remain solvent.
I did some ghosting, wrote a number of comedy books, sometimes under 
pseudonym. I edited a very successful book written by Ben Elton, Rik Mayall
and Lisa Mayer based on the brilliant sitcom The Young Ones.

In the late 1980s, I began to discover what I enjoyed writing. My first novel Fixx was published in 1989. My Ms Wiz children's series was launched at about the same time. Soon afterwards, I began to write a cheerfully acerbic  review of book reviewers for the Sunday Times under the pseudonym of Harvey Porlock (a bad career move, I now see).

Since 1998, I have written a weekly opinion column for the Independent covering the issues of the day, of yesterday and, just now and then, tomorrow. In 2006, I wrote the biography of fascinating man - and my good friend - Willie Donaldson, which was published under the catchy title You Cannot Live As I Have Lived and Not End Up Like This: The Thoroughly Disgraceful Life and Times of Willie Donaldson

In 2013, my fifth novel The Twyning, a story of war between rats and humans, was published in the UK (US publication is by Candlewick Press in 2014). Yours, E.R : A Regal Correspondence - also published in 2013 - imagines the letters of Her Majesty the Queen written to a former private secretary between the London Olympics and the birth of Prince George.


Pseudonyms:
Jonty Lejeune, Harvey Porlock, Talbot Church, 'The Man the Royals Trust' 
(with Willie Donaldson), Paul Kinnell, Norah Lentil, James Riddell.


Current Employment:
In addition to my columns for the Independent and The Author, I occasionally contribute to  various Radio 4 programmes as writer and presenter. In August 2013, my one-man show of songs and stories My Village and Other Aliens was part of the Edinburgh Fringe. Most days, I write fiction, or opinions, or songs of one kind or another.


Family:
My partner in life is Angela Sykes. I have two adult children Xan and Alice  from my marriage to Caroline Soper, now one of my best  friends, and have two grandchildren, Otto and Winnie.


Where I Live:
Home is an ex-goose hatchery on the Norfolk/Suffolk border, which Angela
and I converted in 2002 while we lived in a tiny caravan in a nearby field.
Overseeing the building of a house was an extraordinarily exciting and satisfying experience and I wrote a fortnightly regular column about the progress of our little
adventure in the Sunday Times.


Hobbies:
Playing the guitar, particularly with my friend Derek Hewitson, with
whom I have formed the acoustic duo Something Happened;
reading; planting trees; hunting rats and rabbits with our dog Ruby.


Ambitions:
The details change, but the essential remains:
to produce better work than I've ever done before.