D. M. Thomas

Luminous white hair, dandruff on black polo neck, florid complexion, thick lips cracked and bruised, fingers stained yellow from smoking... The 64-year-old Cornishman drinking Rioja and chain-smoking Marlboro Lights at the table by the window is either a broken-veined pervert or a literary genius. As it happens, DM Thomas has been described as both - female critics tend to favour the former theme, male critics the latter. Actually, what he looks most like is the survivor of a bomb blast, emerging Read more [...]

Colm Tóibín: you have to be a terrible monster to write

With a mind as formidable as his features, Colm Tóibín is now firmly a part of Ireland’s literary landscape. It’s both a blessing and a curse. ‘Listen,” Colm Tóibín says. I listen, though there is nothing to hear. “And it gets even quieter at night,” he adds, “because nearly all the properties around here are used as offices.” We are standing in the upstairs study of his four-storey Georgian house in Dublin, the place where he does his writing in a hard-backed rattan chair, Read more [...]

Note to Zadie Smith: the Left can be just as nasty as the Right

Zadie Smith’s point is a good one. Left and Right should make more of an effort to meet Though I can’t say for sure, I suspect that the unsmiling novelist Zadie Smith may be more Left-wing than Right. This suspicion is prompted by something she said the other day: “I would love to meet a nice, reasonable, intelligent Conservative who’s a lovely person, but where are they?” Has she not heard of Matthew Parris? That is what he is for. As a matter of urgency the man must be rushed, preferably Read more [...]