Patrick French's Writing Tips and Best Books by Young Authors
The Young Writer of the Year Award shortlist is announced today and in the run up, we asked previous years' winners to share some writing tips and favourite texts by young authors. The final instalment is Patrick French.
Patrick French won the award in 1998 for Liberty or Death: India’s Journey to Independence and Division
Patrick’s Writing Tips:
1. Believe in your talent, if you have it.
2. Ignore the peripheral.
3. Find a good editor.
Patrick’s Five Best Books by Young Writers:
1. A House for Mr Biswas by V.S. Naipaul
2. The Grass Is Singing by Doris Lessing
3. White Teeth by Zadie Smith
4. Moth Smoke by Mohsin Hamid
5. Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert (though Flaubert was touching the great age of 36)
Patrick French is the author of books including Younghusband, Liberty or Death and The World Is What It Is, and is presently at work on the authorised biography of Doris Lessing. He is a winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Biography, Somerset Maugham Award, Royal Society of Literature WH Heinemann Prize, Hawthornden Prize and The Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award.
Dealing - among many other things - with friendship, love, war, three cultures and three families over three generations, one brown mouse, and the tricky way the past has of coming back and biting you on the ankle, this book is written with a passion for ideas, for language and for the rich tragic-comedy of life.
In Lahore, Daru Shezad is a junior banker with a hashish habit. When his old friend Ozi moves back to Pakistan, Daru wants to be happy for him. Ozi has everything: a beautiful wife and child, an expensive foreign education - and a corrupt father who bankrolls his lavish lifestyle. As jealousy sets in, Daru's life slowly unravels. He loses his job.
Emma Bovary is beautiful and bored, trapped in her marriage to a mediocre doctor and stifled by the banality of provincial life. She longs for passion and seeks escape in fantasies of high romance, in voracious spending and, eventually, in adultery. But even her affairs bring her disappointment and the consequences are devastating.
A gripping masterpiece, hailed as one of the twentieth century's finest novels.
At midnight on 14 August 1947, Great Britain's 350-year-old Indian Empire was broken into three pieces. The greatest mass migration in history began, as Muslims fled north and Hindus fled south, and Britain's role as an imperial power came to an end.