Author: alan

A Life of Picasso

Volume III: The Triumphant Years 1917-1932By John Richardson It’s perhaps worth reminding ourselves at the outset, as we reach volume III of John Richardson’s stupendous biography of Picasso, exactly where we are. Picasso died in April 1973, aged 91, and it comes as something of a shock to realise that at the end of this […]

Mark Rothko

By William Boyd On the 29th February 1972 the English artist Keith Vaughan went to see an exhibition of Mark Rothko paintings. Vaughan recorded the occasion in his diary: ‘To Hayward Gallery in the afternoon to see Rothkos. Feeble stuff. Large décor.  Boring to paint and look at.  Not surprising he killed himself if that […]

A Life In Books

5 books that are most important to me.The Collected Stories of Anton ChekhovThe greatest short story writer the world has ever seen.  Stories, well over a hundred years old now, that read as if they were written for 2007: dry, absurd, resolutely secular — the most honest clear-eyed look at the strange tragi-comedy of our […]

The Poet’s Sleep

I am lucky enough to be a sound sleeper, in the main, though, like everyone, when my brain is racing I have my ‘nuits blanches’ from time to time. However, my sound sleep is not uninterrupted.  Two things wake me in the night: recurring dreams and what I can only describe as ‘London’. I have […]

Reading Group Q & A with William Boyd

1. How did the idea of writing Ordinary Thunderstorms come to mind and was there any particular challenge involved? It’s a complicated answer.  First of all I had the large and vague ambition of writing a novel about London, contemporary London, a city I’ve lived in now for over a quarter of a century.  But how to […]

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