Southbank Centre’s Book Podcast: Will Self, a life in writing

The writer, journalist and political commentator Will Self first came to prominence in 1991 with the publication of his short story collection The Quantity Theory of Insanity. He has gone on to write further collections of shorter fiction and non-fiction writing, and 11 novels including The Butt, which won the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize for Comic Fiction in 2008; the Booker Prize shortlisted, Umbrella (2012) and Phone, shortlisted for the Goldsmiths Prize in 2017.

In this podcast, recorded live at Southbank Centre, Self joins British journalist and former magazine editor, Alex Bilmes, to discuss his newly released, and typically funny and frenzied memoir, Will

Will Self: a life in writing by Southbank Centre's Book Podcast

Over the course of an entertaining half hour, Self discusses why he wrote Will, the challenges of memoir writing and how it can lead to criticism that is much more ad hominem. He is also drawn by Bilmes to expand on his contempt for bourgeois culture, and how it is presented through his writing.

Will, is also a book about drugs and drug use, a subject which Self expands upon in this recording to speak of the evolution of drug culture, how different cultures understand and interact with drugs, and looks at how and why stories of drug use often draw in people who would never entertain the idea of drug-use themselves.

JG Ballard took LSD once and said that was more than enough... more than enough. He wrote about nine books off the back of that one trip. I’ve probably taken LSD about 100 times, and what the other 99 times added is debatable.
Will Self discusses attitudes to drug taking


The venue for London Literature Festival and Poetry International, Southbank Centre is the home of literature and spoken word events in the UK. Throughout the year we host talks, discussions, readings and more featuring bestselling authors, award-winning poets and inspirational writers.

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