"Murray is the best kind of literary biographer" – The Financial Times.
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Winner of the 2015 Basil Bunting Award for poetry

Monday, 14 July 2008

Bruce Chatwin: First Ever Conference

If you are interested in the life and work of Bruce Chatwin you may want to know about this day conference on Saturday 19th July in Oxford. It is organised by Jonathan Chatwin (no relation!) of Exeter University in conjunction with the Centre for the Book at the Bodleian Library and New College Oxford. Chatwin's widow, Elizabeth Chatwin, will be speaking alongside various other scholars and critics. As the author of the first book on Chatwin (in 1993) I shall be presenting a paper myself and taking part in a panel at the end of the day with Elizabeth Chatwin. There is a useful Chatwin website by the way.

The Conference is the first ever in the UK though I recall having attended one in Turin on 11 December 1997 called "Chatwin: oltre il viaggio..." [Chatwin: Beyond the Journey] and have the T-shirt to prove it. I nearly brought the house down by addressing the conference in Italian (coached by my wonderful interpreter) with the words: "I am sorry that I cannot talk to you tonight in Italian." I then delivered my paper in English. It was also the first time I have written an article in a continental newspaper because that morning I had an article in La Stampa. I wonder what Chatwin's current stock is like in Europe? On that evening in 1997 he was the last word in literary chic.

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