Friday 19 April 2013

The Deighton File - friend and biographer Edward Milward-Oliver on Len ...

Due for an update
Edward Milward-Oliver, author of the very useful and fact-filled Deighton Companion and the Annotated Bibliography, has been speaking to Jeremy Duns, spy novelist, on his friendship with Len Deighton and his work on a new biography of the writer, whom he's know for many years.

Edward shares some interesting new stories and there's a fun picture of Len in France from the 1960s on the site, from the time when he was writing The Ipcress File. Edward also makes some interesting observations about the author and his impact on book titles (the use of "The...." becoming a fashionable way to title a book in the sixties and beyond).

Worth a read.


  1. [Simon - sorry your comment was deleted in error]

    1. No worries. Here it is.

      Interesting reading indeed. Deighton’s reading experience to me is best when started with the Ipcress File. I would agree Funeral in Berlin is a more readable book, and the film has interesting actors like the iconic Günter Meisner.
      What is interesting , rather intriguing is, how could one living in Bonn in early 1980s move half way across the world to Hong Kong? Yes, from the point of view of business opportunities, but moving to a highly crowded small place from the capital of West Germany with sprawling country side nearby, and proximity to places like Cologne, and the options the booming West Germany was presenting then in 1980s? Not to speak of the interesting historic period of the cold war? Oh, No, not for a few million Hong Kong Dollars for me!

  2. I have to agree with you, Simon. I first visited HK three months before the handover and found it terribly claustrophobic. I know it was quite the laissez faire capitalist boomtown in the eighties, but I don't think the chance of making a fortune in business in such an alien environment would have appealed to me had Bonn, Germany or Europe in general had been an option. It was quite interesting to learn more about EMO though...seems like he's lived quite an eclectic life just like Len!

  3. An excellent read. I have to admire anyone who would risk his money on a project that involved refurbishing a communications satellite and re-launching it into space on a Chinese rocket. Clearly not the usual kind of entrepeneur. No surprises that Len Deighton got on with him though.

    Another great point about the article is the link to Slate and the story of Len's entry into the world of word processing. The description of the technology involved is excellent.