Newcastle Centre for the Literary Arts

Events Items

Blake Bailey in conversation with Charlie Gilmour about 'Philip Roth: The Biography'

Date/Time: Thursday 29th April 2021, 7pm to 8pm

Venue: Via YouTube - details to be sent on booking

Appointed by Philip Roth and granted independence and complete access, Blake Bailey spent years poring over Roth's personal archive, interviewing his friends, lovers, and colleagues, and engaging Roth himself in breathtakingly candid conversations. The result is an indelible portrait of an American master and of the postwar literary scene.

He examines Roth's rivalrous friendships with Saul Bellow, John Updike, and William Styron, and reveals the truths of his florid love life, culminating in his almost-twenty-year relationship with actress Claire Bloom, who pilloried Roth in her 1996 memoir, Leaving a Doll's House.

Tracing Roth's path from realism to farce to metafiction to the tragic masterpieces of the American Trilogy, Bailey explores Roth's engagement with nearly every aspect of postwar American culture.

‘A monumental gift... Not only does Blake Bailey bring his famously scrupulous research to bear on this life packed with equal parts honour and scandal, he does so with economy and narrative force - all while working in elegant, unforgettable prose... I wept and railed, marvelled and shook my fist at the sky. 'Just make me interesting,' Roth asked of Bailey, and this unputdownable page-turner does just that.’ Mary Karr

Blake Bailey is the author of biographies of John Cheever, Richard Yates, and Charles Jackson. He is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and an Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Francis Parkman Prize from the Society of American Historians, and a finalist for the Pulitzer and James Tait Black Prizes. His previous book, The Splendid Things We Planned, was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in Autobiography. 

Charlie Gilmour is a journalist and author.  His memoir Featherhood (Weidenfeld & Nicolson) was published to universal acclaim in 2020.

Free event and all welcome.

Blake Bailey