A. N. Wilson

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Bloomsbury Publishing Plc
22 June 2023
ISBN: 9781472994820
320 pages

From the publisher

When you combine the deepest learning and the highest readability with the most plumptious story-telling, the result is A. N. Wilson ... Stephen Fry Known for his journalism, biographies and novels, A. N. Wilson turns a merciless searchlight on his own early life, his experience of sexual abuse, his catastrophic mistakes in love and his life in Grub Street as a prolific writer. Before he came to London, as one of the "Best of Young British" novelists, and Literary Editor of the Spectator, we meet another A. N. Wilson. We meet his father, the Managing Director of Wedgwood, the grotesque teachers at his first boarding school, and the dons of Oxford - one of whom, at the age of just 20, he married, the renowned Shakespearean scholar, the late Katherine Duncan-Jones. At every turn of this reminiscence, Wilson is baffled by his earlier self - whether flirting with unsuitable lovers or with the idea of the priesthood. His chapter on the High Camp seminary which he attended in Oxford is among the funniest in the book. We follow his unsuccessful attempts to become an academic, his aspirations to be a Man of Letters, and his eventual encounters with the famous, including some memorable meetings with royalty. The princesses, dons, paedophiles and journos who cross the pages are as sharply drawn as figures in his early comic fiction. But there is also a tenderness here, in his evocation of those whom he has loved, and hurt, the most.