P. H. Newby was born 25 June 1918, and died 6 September 1997
- For me writing is a perpetually pleasurable activity. I compose straight on to the typewriter and the first, early morning tappings give me the same lift as a guard’s whistle or a ship’s siren. Another journey has begun.
- When I write a novel now, it is only out of some excitement over a crux, a donnée, a paradox that I imperfectly understand.
- For me it is technically necessary to have the whole thing clearly in my mind and firmly planted in the past, as opposed to ‘improvising’ the events.
- You have to be part of the world you write about. I’m the sort of writer who has to have a job which gives my writing resonance.
- Most of my writing is done at week-ends and it is surprising how much can be achieved in this way. Between Friday night and Monday morning it is no great task to write a couple of thousand words and at this rate I could produce a novel every year – which is more than I want to produce.
- There are those who say that the novel is dead, that prose fiction is capable of describing the kind of world that brought it into existence and no longer exists itself. I believe the novel will renew itself by absorbing modern scientific insights and knowledge, and by addressing an intelligent public who want to give their imagination an opportunity to play.
- Literature is a matter of words and it is through the word that we are most fully human. If we are to continue to think and imagine, then thought and imagination will be expressed in verbal accounts of what is it to exist: in other words, in novels.
P. H. Newby was an English novelist and broadcasting administrator. He was the first winner of the Booker Prize for his novel, Something to Answer For. Read more here