I delivered the biography of Elizabeth Jane Howard last week ago – always a nice feeling, but I shall miss her. She was funny and courageous and loyal, dramatically impulsive and romantic, and at the same time very down to earth and practical. A better chooser of friends than she was of men, and a better writer than she’s often given credit… Read more
Jane used to compare the experience of writing a novel to rowing a small boat across the Atlantic. You set off to the cheers of friends and well-wishers, but soon you’re all alone in an immensity of sea. The place you left is a long way away. The land you hope to reach is not even a dot on the… Read more
Elizabeth Jane Howard died a year ago tomorrow. It was sad that she didn’t enjoy the success of the final Cazalet novel, All Change, for a bit longer but after the death of her brother Colin in December 2013, she didn’t want to go on. She died in her own pretty room with her daughter nearby – just slipped away,… Read more
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
…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
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.