“The real art is not to come up with extraordinary clever words but to make ordinary simple words do extraordinary things. To use the language that we all use and to make amazing things occur.” – Graham Swift
Born on this date in 1949, Swift is an English writer whose writing has consistently concerned itself with history and its subtle influences. He is best known for Waterland, a novel of landscape, history and family often cited as one of the ten most outstanding post-WWII British novels. For the past 20 years it has been a regular text used in the English literature syllabus in British schools.
Waterland – starring Jeremy Irons – also is one of a number of Swift's books that have been made into major motion pictures. Another is the highly popular Last Orders, starring Michael Caine and Bob Hoskins. Last Orders, about a group of war veterans who live in the same area of London, was joint winner of the 1996 James Tait Black Memorial Prize for fiction.
A well-known public speaker, he said he’s really rather shy, which is why he chose writing as a career. “One of the things that probably drew me to writing was that it was something you could get on with by yourself,” he said. “Publishing means going public. But the actual activity could scarcely be more invisible. And private.”
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