Over the course of this summer I’ve had a number of interviews with people who knew Jane, and the more I think about her the more contradictory she becomes. She writes about children so well but she didn’t really like them, I think she preferred dogs. In interviews she defined herself as a writer, but deep down I think it… Read more
I wrote Cairo in the War: 1939-1945 almost thirty years ago, and getting a presentation together on such a complicated subject is taking up far more time than expected – although I’d forgotten how many good stories I managed to cram into the book. Then two nights ago, I sat next to someone who is involved with the Brooke Hospital… Read more
Chalke Valley History Festival, Thursday 26 June, 6.30pm Cairo in the War, 1939-1945 East Neuk Literary Festival, Saturday 28 June, 12 noon The Broken Road The Annual Niarchos History Lecture, Yale University Patrick Leigh Fermor
…the book on Elizabeth Jane Howard, a moment of promise and apprehension in equal measure. At this stage the words are no more than little piles of sand – there’s nothing to bind them together. The only thing to do is go on, and hope that by the end of the afternoon one of the piles of sand will look… Read more
If you are coming to the end of a celebrated life, chances are thats someone has already suggested writing your biography – a thought, as Oscar Wilde pointed out, that lends a new terror to death. The print run will be measured in thousands, and modern readers feel shortchanged unless all is revealed: sex, money, secrets, skeletons and dirty linen. The… Read more
Elizabeth Jane Howard (1923 – 2014) was a remarkable writer who wrote fourteen novels as well as screen-plays, short stories, book reviews and articles – though she is chiefly remembered now for being the wife of Kingsley Amis and stepmother to his son Martin. Her life couldn’t be more different from Paddy’s, and it’s every bit as good a story.
For afficionados of Patrick Leigh Fermor, this website has everything: patrickleighfermor.wordpress.com/…/welcome-to-the-patrick-leigh-ferm… I never walked a step of Paddy’s Great Trudge from the Hook of Holland to Constantinople. To me those books are about a timeless Europe suspended somewhere between memory and imagination, and I didn’t want to mess up the pictures that his writing had created in my head. But Nick… Read more