A true literary polymath, Australian writer Clive James had a long and productive career, working variously as a critic, television presenter, novelist and – most recently – a highly acclaimed poet and memoirist.
Non-Fiction by Clive James
Collections by Clive James
Born in Sydney, James lived in the United Kingdom from 1962, having begun his career writing criticism for newspapers, editorials and periodicals - notably writing anonymously as “The Metropolitan Critic” for the Times Literary Supplement and penning a weekly television column for The Observer. A voracious and peripatetic consumer of everything from classic literature to binge-worthy boxsets, he championed a catholic interest in the world around him, becoming a regular and popular voice on television and radio throughout the 1990’s and 2000’s. As one Sydney Morning Herald journalist wrote, ‘his gift and lasting contribution has been to recognise that mass appeal does not translate into lack of substance’.
Prolific in print, he published bestselling novels such as Brilliant Creatures and The Silver Castle as well as several volumes of memoir and essay collections, including Unreliable Memoirs and Cultural Amnesia. Diagnosed with leukaemia in 2011, his last years witnessed an extraordinary late-life creative outpouring, particularly of poetry in which form James established a distinctive and moving voice for discussing his perspectives on the world in the light of his diagnosis. A gifted poet - sometimes compared with his life-long icon, and the subject of his final book Somewhere Becoming Rain, Philip Larkin - James’s collections of verse include Poetry Notebook, Collected Poems, Sentenced to Life, Injury Time and The River in the Sky. A writer with an able talent for wry, self-deprecating humour – and seldom one to mince his words – James expressed a wish that anyone writing his obituary would bear in mind ‘that shorter is better, and that a single line is best’. The readers of the world owe him far more.
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