Former leading New Zealand publisher and bookseller, and widely experienced judge of both the Commonwealth Writers Prize and the Montana New Zealand Book Awards, talks about what he is currently reading, what impresses him and what doesn't, along with chat about the international English language book scene, and links to sites of interest to booklovers.
Saturday, August 08, 2009
The Diary: Sebastian Faulks' A Week in December; Lord Attenborough's art sale; Oubliette Arthouse squatters' Gormley homage; Nicholas de Jongh's Plague over England; Art for Africa Friday, 7 August 2009
- The Independent
Any similarity is purely intentional There was much speculation this week over the identity of the real life inspirations for the characters in Sebastian Faulks's latest novel, 'A Week in December'. Suspects include DJ Taylor and John Walsh, both of this parish.
You might say Faulks has form. Take the brilliant 'Engleby', one of his finest works, which seems to draw on his own early forays into journalism. The novelist was the first literary editor of this newspaper in 1986, and later the deputy editor of the 'Independent on Sunday'. In 'Engleby', the eponymous protagonist recounts being invited to work for a national paper. He refers to a news editor who people in the know suggest combines John Price and Tony Bevins, first news editor and first political editor of the paper, respectively. And Engleby has an interview with three characters not totally dissimilar to the paper's founders – Andreas Whittam Smith, Matthew Symonds, and Stephen Glover – except that the Gloveresque figure is dozing off. The real (and impeccably polite) Stephen Glover, a friend of the novelist, assures me he hardly blinked. Messrs Walsh and Taylor better beware.