Will Self’s memoir, Will, is published today by Viking. Duncan White in The Daily Telegraph said: “Self writes with the same propulsive prose that he has deployed in his masterful recent trilogy, Umbrella (2012), Shark (2014) and Phone (2017), replete with riffs, puns, recursive loops and characteristic ellipses and italics. Perhaps Will is just another Selfian character, subject to absolute authorial control, the fragmented derangement of his youth woven into an intricate and coherent whole by the mature author.”
Will Self’s talk from October 2018 at the Hillingdon Literary Festival, which begins with a reading from a section of his short story “Scale” (from Grey Area). Will discusses the writing of his books Walking to Hollywood and Phone, the importance of the M40 in his fiction, pretending to be British, the Iraq war and a little about his new memoir, Will, which is due to be published in November.
Listen to Will Self reading his short story “The North London Book of the Dead” on Radio 4 here until 9 May. It was first broadcast in 1995.
Will Self’s novel Great Apes (“Planet of the Apes meets Nineteen Eighty-Four … humorous, gripping and provocative”) has been adapted for the stage by Patrick Marmion (The Divided Laing) and will be on at Arcola Theatre in east London from today until April 21. For tickets, visit arcolatheatre.com. Read what Will has to say about the origins of his 1996 novel and why he’s delighted it’s being adapted for the stage here.
There’s a rare chance to catch Will in the States this week – tonight at 7pm he’ll be at a free event at Harvard Book Store, 1256 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA, 02138; on Thursday at 7.30pm he’ll be reading from Phone with Martin Amis at 92ND STREET Y, Unterberg Poetry Center, 1395 Lexington Ave, New York, NY, 10128; and on Saturday at 6pm he’ll be at: Politics and Prose book store, 5015 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington DC, 20008.
The FT said Phone is “A novel of grand ideas, powered by a ravenous curiosity about the role of the technological revolution in our private and public woes, Phone nonetheless bristles with anxiety about the abuse of ‘intelligence’ — in medicine, in warfare, in software, in love … [Self’s] hurricane of eloquence blows in terrific passages of satire, comedy, even suspense — not to mention his pitch-perfect ear for the jargons and lingoes of modernity.”
Listen to Will talking for about half an hour on Afternoon Edition (available for 28 days) on BBC Radio 5 live here at the 1hr 11 minute mark, taking in the “muted” general election, autism, how the smartphone has changed us and finishing his trilogy of modernist novels with Phone in which “a new technology is visited upon us and a new conflict ensues and what ensues from that … is a new form of mental illness”. He also reveals that he’ll be recording an audiobook of Phone and that his next book will be a memoir.