The 80th birthday of thriller writer Len Deighton is to be commemorated in a radio programme to be broadcast on Radio 4 on 26 May, written and presented by Patrick Humphries. There is also a worldwide reissue programme of Deighton's novels, an ITV remake of the Game, Set and Match Trilogy - and a new book, The Anatomy of a Fountain Pen. The new book is "a detailed 27,000-word history and discussion of fountain pens" which HCUK is considering publishing as a "boutique edition" sold from the website and followed by a trade edition.
The notoriously reclusive Deighton, who turned 80 last month, talked to Humphries for two hours about his life, and a writing career stretching back to 1962 and the publication of The Ipcress File, which changed the face of spy fiction and went on to make a successful transfer to the big screen - the first and arguably best of Michael Caine's Harry Palmer outings. Contributors to the programme include food writer Henrietta Green, talking about Deighton’s Action Cook Book, which Fourth Estate will reissue in May with a new introduction, and historian Sir Max Hastings, who speaks about Deighton’s non-fiction work, such as Fighter and Blitzkrieg.
I'm glad that we got in first with our own appreciation of Len, with contributions from (amongst others) Barry Norman, Robert Ryan, Mike Ripley, Rob Mallows and Philip Purser.
Len sent the following email:
I am overwhelmed.
I have always said that two things destroy authors; alcohol and praise.
This may prove fatal (and I don't even drink).
Seriously - just as I was reconciled to being forgotten I find a host of generous friends