Opinion

Philip Roth: ‘It was my good luck that happiness didn’t matter to me….’

When I'm feeling disheartened by the fiction I've been reading (it happens), I reach for something by Philip Roth. He never lets me down. It's not that his books are all masterpieces of the order of Sabbath's Theater or The...

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Falling apart again, never wanted to…

It was when the Independent lost its best columnist Christina Patterson that I knew I no longer felt at home at the paper. By 'lost', I mean 'fired'. Christina had been there for ten years and at the time was...

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When Will Met Matthew

The question was where to play Will Self. He would be a dominant presence in central defence, of course, but what we needed was a goal-scorer. As player-manager, I saw him in the role of the traditional centre-forward  -  a...

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We’re with stupid – the seductive lure of idiocy on the left and the right

Soon after the death of Fidel Castro, I pointed out somewhere online that, for all its brave resistance to the crude might of the United States, the Cuban regime did have the unpleasant habit of locking up those who disagreed...

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Exit, Royal Joker

Print

It was, even by the standards of the British royal family, an extraordinary revelation. The Duke of Edinburgh, according to a report by the veteran court correspondent Talbot Church, had been causing more concern than usual in royal circles with...

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The art of not writing – some practical guidance

  I recently came across a literary quotation by Hugh Grant. Asked by an interviewer about whether he wanted to write, he came up with an impressively honest answer. ‘It’s actually more comfortable to think I could write a novel...

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Crossing the line: when local politicians go bonkers

First, an apology. This is a small story. It is about a village, its school, some houses and a white line. It would not be out of place in one of the quieter episodes of The Archers. To some, the...

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The wind whistling past your ears: dealing with the post-novel blues

It has gone. The piece of work which has occupied over the past couple of years, a novel, has left my desk to make its way in the blustery, chilly outside world. Almost certainly it will be back, nagging for...

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‘Lady in Blue, Unidentified’ – a little vampire story for Halloween

I write this report on Christmas day in the library of Oxburgh Hall, an agreeable late-medieval moated house in Norfolk where I have been a guest for these past five days. By the end of this week, I am confident...

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‘I began to dream of secret swimming holes and a journey of discovery….’ Roger Deakin, ten years on.

In about 1997, I was sharing a bottle of wine with my good friend and neighbour Roger Deakin in the garden of Walnut Tree Farm, his house in the Waveney Valley. Although his life was going through a period of...

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