Paul Bailey – Autumn tutorials

Paul Bailey

PAUL BAILEY is a British writer and critic, author of several novels as well as memoir and biographies. He is a winner of numerous awards and has been twice shortlisted for the Booker Prize.

Paul Bailey won a scholarship to the Central School of Speech and Drama in 1953 and worked as an actor between 1956 and 1964. He became a freelance writer in 1967.

He was appointed Literary Fellow at Newcastle and Durham Universities (1972-4), and was awarded a Bicentennial Fellowship in 1976, enabling him to travel to the USA, where he was Visiting Lecturer in English Literature at the North Dakota State University (1977-9). He was awarded the E. M. Forster Award in 1974 and in1978 he won the George Orwell Prize for his essay “The Limitations of Despair”, first published in The Listener magazine.

Paul Bailey’s novels include At The Jerusalem (1967), which won a Somerset Maugham Award and an Arts Council Writers’ Award; Peter Smart’s Confessions (1977) and Gabriel’s Lament (1986), both shortlisted for the Booker Prize for Fiction; and Sugar Cane (1993), a sequel to Gabriel’s Lament. Kitty and Virgil (1998) is the story of the relationship between an Englishwoman and an exiled Romanian poet.

In Uncle Rudolf (2002), the narrator looks back on his colourful life and his rescue as a young boy from fascist Romania, by his uncle, a gifted lyric tenor.

His latest book is “Chapman’s Odyssey” (2011), in which the main character, Harry Chapman, in morphine-induced delirium, encounters an all-star cast of characters from public and private history.

Last evening, during Julian Barnes’ acceptance speech for the 2011 Man Booker Prize he offered some advice to publishers: “Those of you who have seen my book, whatever you think of its contents, will probably agree it is a beautiful object. And if the physical book, as we’ve come to call it, is to resist the challenge of the ebook, it has to look like something worth buying, worth keeping.”1      Chapman’s Odyssey is one such book. Beautiful.

Paul Bailey is Distinguished Visiting Writer-in-Residence at Kingston University.

  1. Mark Brown for Guardian, Wed 19th October, 2011. available at

on Uncle Rudolf:

‘An exquisitely composed novel.’ – Stevie Davies, Guardian

‘One of Paul Bailey’s best.’ – Penelope Lively

on Chapman’s Odyssey:

If Fred Astaire had been a novelist he would have been Paul Bailey. One of the wittiest, most panacheful and most graceful writers we have’ – Ali Smith

Bailey has a rare feeling for language and an understanding of character few can rival’ – Daily Telegraph

You can read more from, and about, Paul Bailey at Guardian online:


Fiction –

At The Jerusalem (1967) – winner of the Authors’ Club First Novel Award

Trespasses (1970)

A Distant Likeness (1973)

Peter Smart’s Confessions (1977) – Short-listed for the Booker Prize for Fiction

Old Soldiers (1980)

Gabriel’s Lament (1986) – Short-listed for the Booker Prize for Fiction

Sugar Cane (1993)

First Love (ed., 1997)

Kitty and Virgil (1998)

Uncle Rudolf (2002)

A Dog’s Life (2003)

Chapman’s Odyssey (2011)

Non-fiction –

‘Limitations of Despair’: An Essay (1978)

An English Madam: The Life and Work of Cynthia Payne (1982)

An Immaculate Mistake: Scenes from Childhood and Beyond (1990)

The Oxford Book of London (ed., 1995)

The Stately Homo: A Celebration of the Life of Quentin Crisp (ed., 2000)

Three Queer Lives: An Alternative Biography of Naomi Jacob, Fred Barnes and Arthur Marshall (2001)


Thursday 13 October
3:30 – 4:00  Citlalli

Tuesday 8 November 1-3
1:30-2:00   Mike Loveday
2:00-2:30   Lauren Forry
2:30-3:00   Stuart Bird

Tuesday 15 November 1-3
1:30-2:00   Rich Mallender
2:00-2:30   Alexandra Little
2:30-3:00   Sarah Veeder

Tutorials will take place in the Piction room. Work (approx. 2,500 words) should be submitted by email one week in advance, or as agreed with Paul.


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