“Always carry a notebook. And I mean always. The short-term memory only retains information for three minutes; unless it is committed to paper you can lose an idea forever.” – Will Self
Born on this day in 1961, Self is a novelist, journalist, political commentator, television personality and author of 10 novels, 5 collections of shorter fiction, 3 novellas, and 5 collections of non-fiction writing. Also a regular contributor to dozens of the world’s top magazines and journals, his work has been translated into 22 languages. Fiction, though, is his forte’ and he said. “I always wanted to write fiction. Always. As far back as I can remember it's been integral to my sense of myself - everything else was always a displacement activity.”
A native Londoner, he is a graduate of Oxford University and first got interested in writing at age 10, greatly influenced by great science fiction writers like the great Frank Herbert. Self’s first published book, a 1991 collection of his short stories called The Quantity Theory of Insanity thrust him into the public eye as one of the new generation of great English writers, and since then he’s been nominated for many awards, in particular for his novels Umbrella and Dorian.
As for advice to new writers, he says simply, “The writing life is essentially one of solitary confinement - if you can't deal with this, you needn't apply.”
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