Richard Bradford

Richard Bradford: Tough Guy

37 min listen

My guest on this week’s Book Club podcast is the scholar and biographer Richard Bradford, whose new book Tough Guy: The Life of Norman Mailer looks at the rackety life and uneven oeuvre of one of the big beasts of 20th-century American letters. Mailer, as Richard argues, thought his self-identified genius as a writer licensed any amount

Telling tales | 29 November 2018

Germaine Greer described biographers as ‘vultures’. I prefer to think of myself as a version of Philip Marlowe or Sam Spade: vultures hunt by instinct but the two private investigators went after secrets with deliberate foolhardy masochism. It’s human nature to want to know more about the writers we admire — but what you discover

The legacies of Jennifer Johnston

Cross the soaring Foyle Bridge from the East and take the route to Donegal. Shortly before you cross the border — now completely imperceptible — you will find the grand, imposing gates to a country house. As you descend the drive, the hum of traffic subsides and the years, centuries, roll back. Had it been

It happened one summer

For those unfamiliar with Martin Amis’s short story, ‘What Happened to Me on My Holiday’, written for The New Yorker in 1997, it was a purist exercise in autobiographical fiction; not even the names were changed. For those unfamiliar with Martin Amis’s short story, ‘What Happened to Me on My Holiday’, written for The New

Brave new writing

Fifty years ago, Alan Sillitoe’s first novel, Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, changed the history of English fiction. Richard Bradford explains how. Alan Sillitoe is 80 this year and his debut novel Saturday Night and Sunday Morning was published in October 1958, almost exactly half a century ago. The novel evolved from a set of

On the road with George

Stories abound of figures for whom the allure of the Left is eroded by cynicism and honest self-interest. Most treat their previous affiliation as a species of deluded immaturity; going Right is a natural consequence of growing up, albeit in early middle age. Alan Sillitoe is different. He too in the early Sixties was a