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I'm going to be a published writer


My meeting with Victor Gollancz
Frederic Raphael Writer
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So by the time we'd ended the Footlights show in London, which we did three weeks actually at £15 a week each we got. I mean, it was a fortune! Beetle and I went out for dinner, people recognised us, I mean it was fantastic. And Victor Gollancz was mentioned in the number which I did about Graham Greene and Evelyn Waugh, and my friend David Conniston and I had this exchange and I, at the end of a list of... of publishers I turned to him and said, 'Victor Gollancz?' And he said, No, thanks'.

And Victor, such was his vanity and, I must say, his sportsmanship, decided he would come and see the show. And Beetle got him tickets because she had worked for him. So he came with his wife, Ruth. His poor wife Ruth – Victor was quite a... chaser of... ladies. Anyway, and then he asked us out to dinner. In the taxi on the way to dinner it turned out to be a) that it was their wedding anniversary, which was a funny time to ask a complete stranger and a pretty woman to come to dinner. He asked me, secondly, what did I want to do? And I said I'm going to be a writer, a novelist. And he said, not a good idea. And I said, well, it's what's going to happen and I'm going away for a year.

So we had dinner and Victor was perfectly nice, it all went well and Beetle again, I mean, in a way which only my vanity and the trust which we had in each other, which was... fervent. I mean, it's just... it's the greatest luck in the world. At times I don't deny that other women have been interesting to me, but actually, I've had the most fantastic experience with... with Beetle. So I mean... terrific. I was going to go away, and she said, you've got to go on your own on this trip. If you go with me you won't do what you would do. And I said, well um, but actually I knew she was right and I thought I ought to go on my own.... with my notebook.

Born in America in 1931, Frederic Raphael is a writer who moved to England as a boy. He was educated at Charterhouse School and was a Major Scholar in Classics at St John's College, Cambridge. His articles and book reviews appear in a number of newspapers and magazines, including the Los Angeles Times and The Sunday Times. He has published more than twenty novels, the best-known being the semi-autobiographical The Glittering Prizes (1976). In 1965 Raphael won an Oscar for the screenplay for the movie Darling, and two years later received an Oscar nomination for his screenplay for Two for the Road. In 1999, he published Eyes Wide Open, a memoir of his collaboration with the director Stanley Kubrick on the screenplay of Eyes Wide Shut, Kubrick's final movie. Raphael lives in France and England and became a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 1964.

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: Victor Gollancz

Duration: 2 minutes, 15 seconds

Date story recorded: March 2014

Date story went live: 13 August 2014