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From the late s through the early s, Pinter wrote a series of plays and sketches that explore complex ambiguities, elegiac mysteries, comic vagaries, and other "quicksand-like" characteristics of memory and which critics sometimes classify as Pinter's " memory plays ". Some of Pinter's later plays, including Party Time , Moonlight , Ashes to Ashes , and Celebration , draw upon some features of his "memory" dramaturgy in their focus on the past in the present, but they have personal and political resonances and other tonal differences from these earlier memory plays.

Following a three-year period of creative drought in the early s after his marriage to Antonia Fraser and the death of Vivien Merchant, [] Pinter's plays tended to become shorter and more overtly political, serving as critiques of oppression , torture , and other abuses of human rights , [] linked by the apparent "invulnerability of power.

Pinter played the major role of Roote in a revival at the Minerva Theatre, Chichester. Pinter's brief dramatic sketch Precisely is a duologue between two bureaucrats exploring the absurd power politics of mutual nuclear annihilation and deterrence. His first overtly political one-act play is One for the Road In Pinter stated that whereas his earlier plays presented metaphors for power and powerlessness, the later ones present literal realities of power and its abuse.

Pinter adapted it as a screenplay for television in , directing that production, first broadcast in the UK on Channel 4 on 17 November Intertwining political and personal concerns, his next full-length plays, Moonlight and Ashes to Ashes are set in domestic households and focus on dying and death; in their personal conversations in Ashes to Ashes , Devlin and Rebecca allude to unspecified atrocities relating to the Holocaust.

Pinter's last stage play, Celebration , is a social satire set in an opulent restaurant, which lampoons The Ivy , a fashionable venue in London's West End theatre district, and its patrons who "have just come from performances of either the ballet or the opera. Not that they can remember a darn thing about what they saw, including the titles.

Celebration evokes familiar Pinteresque political contexts: It is tempting but inaccurate to equate the comic power inversions of the social behavior in Celebration with lasting change in larger political structures", according to Grimes, for whom the play indicates Pinter's pessimism about the possibility of changing the status quo. My grandfather introduced me to the mystery of life and I'm still in the middle of it.

I can't find the door to get out. My grandfather got out of it. He got right out of it. He left it behind him and he didn't look back. He got that absolutely right. And I'd like to make one further interjection. Like Celebration , Pinter's penultimate sketch, Press Conference , "invokes both torture and the fragile, circumscribed existence of dissent". Pinter composed 27 screenplays and film scripts for cinema and television, many of which were filmed, or adapted as stage plays. His commissioned screenplays of others' works for the films The Handmaid's Tale , The Remains of the Day , and Lolita , remain unpublished and in the case of the latter two films, uncredited, though several scenes from or aspects of his scripts were used in these finished films.

Pinter's last filmed screenplay was an adaptation of the Tony Award -winning play Sleuth , by Anthony Shaffer , which was commissioned by Jude Law , one of the film's producers. Pinter participated both as an actor, as Nicolas in One for the Road , and as a director of a double bill pairing his last play, Celebration , with his first play, The Room.

In December , Pinter was diagnosed with oesophageal cancer , for which, in , he underwent an operation and chemotherapy. From 9 to 25 January , the Manitoba Theatre Centre, in Manitoba , Canada, held a nearly month-long PinterFest , in which over performances of twelve of Pinter's plays were performed by a dozen different theatre companies. In , Pinter stated that he had stopped writing plays and that he would be devoting his efforts more to his political activism and writing poetry: I think it's enough for me My energies are going in different directions—over the last few years I've made a number of political speeches at various locations and ceremonies I'm using a lot of energy more specifically about political states of affairs, which I think are very, very worrying as things stand.

From , Pinter suffered ill health, including a rare skin disease called pemphigus [] and "a form of septicaemia that afflict[ed] his feet and made it difficult for him to walk. In an interview with Pinter in , conducted by critic Michael Billington as part of the cultural programme of the Winter Olympics in Turin , Italy, Pinter confirmed that he would continue to write poetry but not plays. Hare introduced the selection of film clips by saying: After returning to London from the Edinburgh International Book Festival , in September , Pinter began rehearsing for his performance of the role of Krapp in Samuel Beckett 's one-act monologue Krapp's Last Tape , which he performed from a motorised wheelchair in a limited run the following month at the Royal Court Theatre to sold-out audiences and "ecstatic" critical reviews.

It featured productions of seven of Pinter's plays: Smith, with Pinter performing the role of Max for the first time; he had previously played Lenny on stage in I might even show you my photograph album. You might even see a face in it which might remind you of your own, of what you once were. You might see faces of others, in shadow, or cheeks of others, turning, or jaws, or backs of necks, or eyes, dark under hats, which might remind you of others, whom once you knew, whom you thought long dead, but from whom you will still receive a sidelong glance, if you can face the good ghost.

Allow the love of the good ghost. They possess all that emotion It will assuredly never release them, but who knows You think it cruel Deeply, deeply, they wish to respond to your touch, to your look, and when you smile, their joy And so I say to you, tender the dead, as you would yourself be tendered, now, in what you would describe as your life. Pinter's funeral was a private, half-hour secular ceremony conducted at the graveside at Kensal Green Cemetery , 31 December The eight readings selected in advance by Pinter included passages from seven of his own writings and from the story " The Dead ", by James Joyce , which was read by actress Penelope Wilton.

Michael Gambon read the "photo album" speech from No Man's Land and three other readings, including Pinter's poem "Death" Other readings honoured Pinter's widow and his love of cricket. At its end, Pinter's widow, Antonia Fraser, stepped forward to his grave and quoted from Horatio 's speech after the death of Hamlet: The night before Pinter's burial, theatre marquees on Broadway dimmed their lights for a minute in tribute, [] and on the final night of No Man's Land at the Duke of York's Theatre on 3 January , all of the Ambassador Theatre Group in the West End dimmed their lights for an hour to honour the playwright.

The theatre also established a writer's residency in Pinter's name. A memorial cricket match at Lord's Cricket Ground between the Gaieties Cricket Club and the Lord's Taverners, followed by performances of Pinter's poems and excerpts from his plays, took place on 27 September In , English PEN established the PEN Pinter Prize , which is awarded annually to a British writer or a writer resident in Britain who, in the words of Pinter's Nobel speech, casts an 'unflinching, unswerving' gaze upon the world, and shows a 'fierce intellectual determination The prize is shared with an international writer of courage.

The inaugural winners of the prize were Tony Harrison and the Burmese poet and comedian Maung Thura a.


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In January Being Harold Pinter , a theatrical collage of excerpts from Pinter's dramatic works, his Nobel Lecture, and letters of Belarusian prisoners, created and performed by the Belarus Free Theatre , evoked a great deal of attention in the public media. The Free Theatre's members had to be smuggled out of Minsk , owing to a government crackdown on dissident artists, to perform their production in a two-week sold-out engagement at La MaMa in New York as part of the Under the Radar Festival.

In an additional sold-out benefit performance at the Public Theater , co-hosted by playwrights Tony Kushner and Tom Stoppard , the prisoner's letters were read by ten guest performers: The re-naming of one of our most successful West End theatres is a fitting tribute to a man who made such a mark on British theatre who, over his 50 year career, became recognised as one of the most influential modern British dramatists.

In , he received a Laurence Olivier Special Award for lifetime achievement in the theatre. Passion, Poetry, Politics, including scholars and critics from Europe and the Americas, held in Turin , Italy, from 10 to 14 March In October , the Central School of Speech and Drama announced that Pinter had agreed to become its president and awarded him an honorary fellowship at its graduation ceremony. I enjoyed my time there very much and I am delighted to become president of a remarkable institution.

On 13 October , the Swedish Academy announced that it had decided to award the Nobel Prize in Literature for that year to Pinter, who "in his plays uncovers the precipice under everyday prattle and forces entry into oppression's closed rooms". After the Academy notified Pinter of his award, he had planned to travel to Stockholm to present his Nobel Lecture in person.


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It was projected on three large screens at the Swedish Academy on the evening of 7 December , [24] [] and transmitted on More 4 that same evening in the UK. Later, the text and streaming video formats without Hare's introduction were posted on the Nobel Prize and Swedish Academy official websites. It has since been released as a DVD. We have lived in peace. A few months ago a Contra force attacked the parish.


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They raped nurses and teachers, slaughtered doctors, in the most brutal manner. They behaved like savages. Please demand that the US government withdraw its support from this shocking terrorist activity. In war, innocent people always suffer. Pinter's lecture has been widely distributed by print and online media and has provoked much commentary and debate, [] with some commentators accusing Pinter of "anti-Americanism". De Villepin praised Pinter's poem "American Football" stating: Poetry teaches us how to live and you, Harold Pinter, teach us how to live. Some scholars and critics challenge the validity of Pinter's critiques of what he terms "the modes of thinking of those in power" [] or dissent from his retrospective viewpoints on his own work.

In , the Russian suppression of Eastern Europe was an obvious and brutal fact, but I felt very strongly then and feel as strongly now that we have an obligation to subject our own actions and attitudes to an equivalent critical and moral scrutiny. Pinter's aversion to any censorship by "the authorities" is epitomised in Petey's line at the end of The Birthday Party. As the broken-down and reconstituted Stanley is being carted off by the figures of authority Goldberg and McCann, Petey calls after him, "Stan, don't let them tell you what to do! Never more than now.

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As Pinter's long-time friend David Jones reminded analytically inclined scholars and dramatic critics, Pinter was one of the "great comic writers": The trap with Harold's work, for performers and audiences, is to approach it too earnestly or portentously. I have always tried to interpret his plays with as much humor and humanity as possible. There is always mischief lurking in the darkest corners.

The world of The Caretaker is a bleak one, its characters damaged and lonely. But they are all going to survive. And in their dance to that end they show a frenetic vitality and a wry sense of the ridiculous that balance heartache and laughter. Funny, but not too funny. As Pinter wrote, back in Beyond that point, it ceases to be funny, and it is because of that point that I wrote it. His dramatic conflicts present serious implications for his characters and his audiences, leading to sustained inquiry about "the point" of his work and multiple "critical strategies" for developing interpretations and stylistic analyses of it.

Pinter's unpublished manuscripts and letters to and from him are held in the Harold Pinter Archive in the Modern Literary Manuscripts division of the British Library. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For other people named Pinter, see Pinter surname. Lady Antonia Fraser m. Harold Pinter and politics. Honours and awards to Harold Pinter. Art, Truth and Politics. Harold Pinter and academia. List of works by Harold Pinter. Retrieved 18 January Candide attacks the passivity inspired by Leibniz's philosophy of optimism through the character Pangloss's frequent refrain that circumstances are the " best of all possible worlds ".

L'Homme aux quarante ecus The Man of Forty Pieces of Silver , addresses social and political ways of the time; Zadig and others, the received forms of moral and metaphysical orthodoxy; and some were written to deride the Bible. In these works, Voltaire's ironic style, free of exaggeration, is apparent, particularly the restraint and simplicity of the verbal treatment. In general, his criticism and miscellaneous writing show a similar style to Voltaire's other works. Almost all of his more substantive works, whether in verse or prose, are preceded by prefaces of one sort or another, which are models of his caustic yet conversational tone.

In a vast variety of nondescript pamphlets and writings, he displays his skills at journalism. The most oft-cited Voltaire quotation is apocryphal. He is incorrectly credited with writing, "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it. Tallentyre in her biographical book The Friends of Voltaire. Her interpretation does capture the spirit of Voltaire's attitude towards Helvetius; it had been said Hall's summary was inspired by a quotation found in a Voltaire letter to an Abbot le Riche, in which he was reported to have said, "I detest what you write, but I would give my life to make it possible for you to continue to write.

Then, in his Dictionnaire philosophique , containing such articles as "Abraham", "Genesis", "Church Council", he wrote about what he perceived as the human origins of dogmas and beliefs, as well as inhuman behavior of religious and political institutions in shedding blood over the quarrels of competing sects. Amongst other targets, Voltaire criticized France's colonial policy in North America, dismissing the vast territory of New France as " a few acres of snow " "quelques arpents de neige". Voltaire also engaged in an enormous amount of private correspondence during his life, totalling over 20, letters.

Theodore Besterman 's collected edition of these letters, completed only in , fills volumes. In Voltaire's correspondence with Catherine the Great he derided democracy. He wrote, "Almost nothing great has ever been done in the world except by the genius and firmness of a single man combating the prejudices of the multitude. Like other key Enlightenment thinkers, Voltaire was a deist , expressing the idea: Is it to believe that which is evident?

It is perfectly evident to my mind that there exists a necessary, eternal, supreme, and intelligent being. This is no matter of faith, but of reason. In a essay, Voltaire supported the toleration of other religions and ethnicities: I, however, am going further: I say that we should regard all men as our brothers. The Turk my brother?

The Chinaman my brother? Yes, without doubt; are we not all children of the same father and creatures of the same God? In one of his many denunciations of priests of every religious sect, Voltaire describes them as those who "rise from an incestuous bed, manufacture a hundred versions of God, then eat and drink God, then piss and shit God.

Georges Danton

Your Majesty will do the human race an eternal service by extirpating this infamous superstition, I do not say among the rabble, who are not worthy of being enlightened and who are apt for every yoke; I say among honest people, among men who think, among those who wish to think. It is characteristic of fanatics who read the holy scriptures to tell themselves: God killed, so I must kill; Abraham lied, Jacob deceived, Rachel stole: But, wretch, you are neither Rachel, nor Jacob, nor Abraham, nor God; you are just a mad fool, and the popes who forbade the reading of the Bible were extremely wise.

Voltaire's opinion of the Christian Bible was mixed. Although influenced by Socinian works such as the Bibliotheca Fratrum Polonorum , Voltaire's skeptical attitude to the Bible separated him from Unitarian theologians like Fausto Sozzini or even Biblical-political writers like John Locke. The deeply Christian Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart wrote to his father the year of Voltaire's death, saying, "The arch-scoundrel Voltaire has finally kicked the bucket As Christianity advances, disasters befall the [Roman] empire—arts, science, literature, decay—barbarism and all its revolting concomitants are made to seem the consequences of its decisive triumph—and the unwary reader is conducted, with matchless dexterity, to the desired conclusion—the abominable Manicheism of Candide , and, in fact, of all the productions of Voltaire's historic school—viz.

However, Voltaire also acknowledged the self-sacrifice of Christians. Peoples separated from the Roman religion have imitated but imperfectly so generous a charity. The attack, launched at first against clericalism and theocracy, ended in a furious assault upon Holy Scripture, the dogmas of the Church, and even upon the person of Jesus Christ Himself, who [he] depicted now as a degenerate". According to Orthodox rabbi Joseph Telushkin , the most significant Enlightenment hostility against Judaism was found in Voltaire; [] thirty of the articles in his Dictionnaire philosophique dealt with Jews and described them in consistently negative ways.

Whatever anti-semitism Voltaire may have felt, Gay suggests, derived from negative personal experience. His remarks on the Jews and their "superstitions" were essentially no different from his remarks on Christians. Telushkin states that Voltaire did not limit his attack to aspects of Judaism that Christianity used as a foundation, repeatedly making it clear that he despised Jews. Some authors link Voltaire's anti-Judaism to his polygenism. According to Joxe Azurmendi this anti-Judaism has a relative importance in Voltaire's philosophy of history. However, Voltaire's anti-Judaism influences later authors like Ernest Renan.

According to the historian Will Durant , Voltaire had initially condemned the persecution of Jews on several occasions including in his work Henriade. However, subsequently, Voltaire had become strongly anti-Semitic after some regrettable personal financial transactions and quarrels with Jewish financiers. In his Essai sur les moeurs Voltaire had denounced the ancient Hebrews using strong language; a Catholic priest had protested against this censure.

The anti-Semitic passages in Voltaire's Dictionnaire philosophique were criticized by Issac Pinto in Subsequently, Voltaire agreed with the criticism of his anti-Semitic views and stated that he had been "wrong to attribute to a whole nation the vices of some individuals"; [] he also promised to revise the objectionable passages for forthcoming editions of the Dictionnaire philosophique , but failed to do so.

Voltaire's views about Islam remained negative as he considered the Qur'an to be ignorant of the laws of physics. Referring to the prophet, Voltaire continued in his letter, "But that a camel-merchant should stir up insurrection in his village; that in league with some miserable followers he persuades them that he talks with the angel Gabriel; that he boasts of having been carried to heaven, where he received in part this unintelligible book, each page of which makes common sense shudder; that, to pay homage to this book, he delivers his country to iron and flame; that he cuts the throats of fathers and kidnaps daughters; that he gives to the defeated the choice of his religion or death: It must be admitted that he removed almost all of Asia from idolatry" and that "it was difficult for such a simple and wise religion, taught by a man who was constantly victorious, could hardly fail to subjugate a portion of the earth.

As a historian he devoted several chapters to Islam, [] [] [] Voltaire highlighted the Arabian, Turkish courts, and conducts. The tragedy Fanaticism, or Mahomet the Prophet French: Le fanatisme, ou Mahomet le Prophete was written in by Voltaire. The play is a study of religious fanaticism and self-serving manipulation.

The character Muhammad orders the murder of his critics. Voltaire described Muhammad as an "impostor", a "false prophet", a "fanatic" and a "hypocrite". In his play, Mohammed was "whatever trickery can invent that is most atrocious and whatever fanaticism can accomplish that is most horrifying. Mahomet here is nothing other than Tartuffe with armies at his command. Voltaire continues about Islam, saying:. Nothing is more terrible than a people who, having nothing to lose, fight in the united spirit of rapine and of religion. In a letter recommending the play to Pope Benedict XIV , Voltaire described Muhammad as "the founder of a false and barbarous sect" and "a false prophet".

To whom could I with more propriety inscribe a satire on the cruelty and errors of a false prophet, than to the vicar and representative of a God of truth and mercy? Commenting on the sacred texts of the Hindus, the Vedas , Voltaire observed:. The Veda was the most precious gift for which the West had ever been indebted to the East. He regarded Hindus as "a peaceful and innocent people, equally incapable of hurting others or of defending themselves.

Voltaire rejected the biblical Adam and Eve story and was a polygenist who speculated that each race had entirely separate origins. His most famous remark on slavery is found in Candide , where the hero is horrified to learn "at what price we eat sugar in Europe" after coming across a slave in French Guiana who has been mutilated for escaping, who opines that, if all human beings have common origins as the Bible taught, it makes them cousins, concluding that "no one could treat their relatives more horribly".

Elsewhere, he wrote caustically about "whites and Christians [who] proceed to purchase negroes cheaply, in order to sell them dear in America". Voltaire has been accused of supporting the slave trade as per a letter attributed to him, [] [] [] although it has been suggested that this letter is a forgery "since no satisfying source attests to the letter's existence. In his Philosophical Dictionary , Voltaire endorses Montesquieu 's criticism of the slave trade: Zeev Sternhell argues that despite his shortcomings, Voltaire was a forerunner of liberal pluralism in his approach to history and non-European cultures.

This great misunderstanding about Chinese rituals has come about because we have judged their usages by ours, for we carry the prejudices of our contentious spirit to the end of the world.

Harold Pinter - Wikipedia

When writing about India, he declares, "It is time for us to give up the shameful habit of slandering all sects and insulting all nations! According to Victor Hugo: The more I read Voltaire the more I love him. He is a man always reasonable, never a charlatan, never a fanatic. In Russia, Catherine the Great had been reading Voltaire for sixteen years prior to becoming Empress in The content of these letters has been described as being akin to a student writing to a teacher. Gogol , Vissarion Belinsky wrote that Voltaire "stamped out the fires of fanaticism and ignorance in Europe by ridicule.

When Comte de Lally was executed for treason in , Voltaire wrote a page document absolving de Lally. Subsequently, in , the judgment against de Lally was expunged just before Voltaire's death. The Genevan Protestant minister Pomaret once said to Voltaire, "You seem to attack Christianity, and yet you do the work of a Christian. Under the French Third Republic , anarchists and socialists often invoked Voltaire's writings in their struggles against militarism, nationalism, and the Catholic Church.

Italy had a Renaissance , and Germany had a Reformation , but France had Voltaire; he was for his country both Renaissance and Reformation, and half the Revolution. His spirit moved like a flame over the continent and the century, and stirs a million souls in every generation. Voltaire's junior contemporary Jean-Jacques Rousseau commented on how Voltaire's book Letters on the English played a great role in his intellectual development.

Subsequently, when Rousseau sent Voltaire a copy of his book Discourse on Inequality , Voltaire replied, noting his disagreement with the views expressed in the book:. No one has ever employed so much intellect to persuade men to be beasts. However, as it is more than sixty years since I lost that habit, I feel, unfortunately, that it is impossible for me to resume it.

No more about Jean-Jacques' romance if you please. I have read it, to my sorrow, and it would be to his if I had time to say what I think of this silly book. Voltaire speculated that the first half of Julie had been written in a brothel and the second half in a lunatic asylum. Paris recognized Voltaire's hand and judged the patriarch to be bitten by jealousy.

In reviewing Rousseau's book Emile after its publication, Voltaire dismissed it as "a hodgepodge of a silly wet nurse in four volumes, with forty pages against Christianity, among the boldest ever known. In , Rousseau published Lettres de la montagne , containing nine letters on religion and politics. In the fifth letter he wondered why Voltaire had not been able to imbue the Genevan councilors, who frequently met him, "with that spirit of tolerance which he preaches without cease, and of which he sometimes has need".

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The letter continued with an imaginary speech delivered by Voltaire, imitating his literary style, in which he accepts authorship for the book Sermon of the Fifty —a book whose authorship Voltaire had repeatedly denied because it contained many heresies. In , when a priest sent Rousseau a pamphlet denouncing Voltaire, Rousseau responded with a defense of Voltaire:. He has said and done so many good things that we should draw the curtain over his irregularities. This was met by a sharp retort from Rousseau:.

How dare you mock the honors rendered to Voltaire in the temple of which he is the god, and by the priests who for fifty years have been living off his masterpieces? On 2 July , Rousseau died one month after Voltaire's death. Louis XVI , while incarcerated in the Temple , had remarked that Rousseau and Voltaire had "destroyed France", by which he meant his dynasty. Voltaire perceived the French bourgeoisie to be too small and ineffective, the aristocracy to be parasitic and corrupt, the commoners as ignorant and superstitious, and the Church as a static and oppressive force useful only on occasion as a counterbalance to the rapacity of kings, although all too often, even more rapacious itself.

Voltaire distrusted democracy, which he saw as propagating the idiocy of the masses. But his disappointments and disillusions with Frederick the Great changed his philosophy somewhat, and soon gave birth to one of his most enduring works, his novella Candide, ou l'Optimisme Candide, or Optimism, , which ends with a new conclusion: Candide was also burned and Voltaire jokingly claimed the actual author was a certain 'Demad' in a letter, where he reaffirmed the main polemical stances of the text.

He particularly had admiration for the ethics and government as exemplified by the Chinese philosopher Confucius. Voltaire is also known for many memorable aphorisms, such as "Si Dieu n'existait pas, il faudrait l'inventer" "If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him" , contained in a verse epistle from , addressed to the anonymous author of a controversial work on The Three Impostors. But far from being the cynical remark it is often taken for, it was meant as a retort to atheistic opponents such as d'Holbach , Grimm , and others.

The Scottish Victorian writer Thomas Carlyle argued that "Voltaire read history, not with the eye of devout seer or even critic, but through a pair of mere anti-catholic spectacles. The town of Ferney, where Voltaire lived out the last 20 years of his life, was officially named Ferney-Voltaire in honor of its most famous resident in In the Zurich of , the theatre and performance group who would become the early avant-garde movement Dada named their theater The Cabaret Voltaire.

A lateth-century industrial music group then named themselves after the theater. Astronomers have bestowed his name to the Voltaire crater on Deimos and the asteroid Voltaire. Voltaire was also known to have been an advocate for coffee, as he was reported to have drunk it 50—72 times per day. It has been suggested that high amounts of caffeine acted as a mental stimulant to his creativity.

In the s, the bibliographer and translator Theodore Besterman started to collect, transcribe and publish all of Voltaire's writings. He wrote an article in Le Monde arguing that she is close to sanctity. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Retrieved 9 December Archived from the original on 9 December Retrieved 12 December The Times Literary Supplement. Retrieved 11 December He mentioned his British father, a surgeon, and his childhood in Mauritius and Nigeria.

Multicultural Writers Since France and the Americas. Archived from the original on 11 December The book has a dual narrative. Portail Ocean Indie in French. Archived from the original on 4 November Retrieved 14 December The Nobel Foundation Archived from the original on 5 January