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My brother, Andrew
Diana Athill Writer
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We [Andrew and I] were very great friends and he was sent off to school and that was awful. So then of course we became less great friends, because we didn't see so much of each other. And that made him very unhappy. He hated being at school, poor little boy. Hated it. He just felt completely exiled. He was… he was… he belonged to the place, he belonged to Ditchingham to such an extent that it was a real torment for him, not being there. He knew every inch of that place. He used to say that he'd climbed every single tree in the whole [sic] and he really was, sort of, native to it. And he minded being not there very much. He would have said his childhood was unhappy because of that.

In his preschool days, we were very, very great friends. We used to go about linked with our arms around each other's necks. I remember thinking: Awful little self-conscious child, smug little child, walking across a lawn. There was a tennis party going on. Andrew and I with our arm around each other, thinking: They'll all be thinking what sweet little children we are.

Diana Athill (1917-2019) was a British literary editor whose publishing career began when she helped André Deutsch establish his company. She worked with many notable writers, namely Philip Roth, Simone de Beauvoir, Jean Rhys and VS Naipaul. Following the publication of her memoirs, she came to be hailed as an author in her own right.

Listeners: Christopher Sykes

Christopher Sykes is a London-based television producer and director who has made a number of documentary films for BBC TV, Channel 4 and PBS.

Tags: brother, friendship, school

Duration: 1 minute, 9 seconds

Date story recorded: January 2008

Date story went live: 23 December 2008