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Colin Wilson in London

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Encountering TS Eliot
Brian Aldiss Writer
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It would be hard at that time to think of a writer who was lucky enough to be published by Faber & Faber. They seemed to me to be the prime publisher in London, not least because at the head was TS Eliot whom I was sometimes allowed to see. If I went up to his room, I would stand there, Eliot would stand there and he would talk to me, and in his room, on the one hand, over the fireplace was a wonderful pencil drawing of Eliot, framed. On the other side was a framed portrait in pencil of Ezra Pound. Pound had a great influence on TS Eliot.

And who had drawn both these... who was the artist? I can't remember at the moment, but it might come back to me.

Anyhow, there they were, and there TS Eliot was. Rather formal, perhaps not understanding the sort of thing that I was writing, and not fully wanting to. I don't know... I know nothing about that. But at least it was something to be in the great man's presence.

Brian Aldiss (1925-2017) was an English writer and anthologies editor, best known for his science fiction novels and short stories. He was educated at Framlingham College, Suffolk, and West Buckland School, Devon, and served in the Royal Signals between 1943-1947. After leaving the army, Aldiss worked as a bookseller in Oxford, an experience which provided the setting for his first book, 'The Brightfount Diaries' (1955). His first science fiction novel, 'Non-Stop', was published in 1958 while he was working as literary editor of the 'Oxford Mail'. His many prize-winning science fiction titles include 'Hothouse' (1962), which won the Hugo Award, 'The Saliva Tree' (1966), which was awarded the Nebula, and 'Helliconia Spring' (1982), which won both the British Science Fiction Association Award and the John W Campbell Memorial Award. Several of his books have been adapted for the cinema. His story, 'Supertoys Last All Summer Long', was adapted and released as the film 'AI' in 2001. His book 'Jocasta' (2005), is a reworking of Sophocles' classic Theban plays, 'Oedipus Rex' and 'Antigone'.

Listeners: Christopher Sykes

Christopher Sykes is an independent documentary producer who has made a number of films about science and scientists for BBC TV, Channel Four, and PBS.

Tags: Faber & Faber, TS Eliot, Ezra Pound

Duration: 1 minute, 48 seconds

Date story recorded: September 2014

Date story went live: 17 August 2015