An Australian author, critic, broadcaster, poet and humorist who has lived in Great Britain most of his adult life, James was born on this date in 1939 and broke into the writing world in the 1970s as a television critic for The Observer magazine. He gained a wide reading audience with his autobiographical series Unreliable Memoirs, first published in 1980 and his acclaimed book of biographical essays Cultural Amnesia. These are really wonderful biographical sketches of many, many famous 20th century figures.
James also has published four novels and several books of poetry, including The Book of My Enemy (2003), a volume that takes its title from his earlier humorous poem "The Book of My Enemy Has Been Remaindered” (the term used in bookselling to put your books in the bargain basement bin).
Humor, he said, is an essential part of every writer’s arsenal. “Common sense and a sense of humor are the same thing, moving at different speeds. A sense of humor is just common sense, dancing.”
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