Literary Birthday – 19 August – Jonathan Coe


Happy Birthday, Jonathan Coe, born 19 August 1961

Nine Quotes

  1. It seems to me that you would have to write a novel on a very small, intimate scale for it not to become political.
  2. Some people don’t realise that a straight ‘No’ can be the kindest answer in the world.
  3. Words are tricky little bastards, and very rarely say what you want them to say.
  4. I have trouble keeping things out of books, which is why I don’t write short stories because they turn into novels.
  5. There’s a fine line between forgetting an event, and suppressing the memory of it.
  6. As soon as you start writing about how human beings interact with each other socially, you’re into politics, aren’t you?
  7. Writers never feel comfortable having labels attached to them, however accurate they are.
  8. You would go mad if you began to speculate about the impact your novel might have while you were still writing it.
  9. I’m one of those unlucky people who had a happy childhood.

Jonathan Coe is an English novelist and writer. One of Coe’s claims to fame is that he holds the record for writing the longest sentence in the literature of the English language. It is in The Rotters’ Club and is 13,955 words (ahead of James Joyce’s soliloquy by Molly Bloom in Ulysses).

Source for image

 by Amanda Patterson