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Leaving the world of showbiz


Writing in solitude is best
Frederic Raphael Writer
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The whole of my life, actually, from the time that I first got involved in showbiz through Leslie Bricusse, and I don't, as I hope I've made clear, deny that it was a fortunate moment. Because there was a yellow brick road and I did walk along it and I picked up quite a few yellow bricks on the way, and very useful they are too. But my idea of being a writer is being alone and doing things that nobody has commissioned and quite possibly nobody will want to publish.

In recent times, writers have had the feeling that we've reached that point because, of course, the net and various other things has made publishers very nervous, and they only publish, or publish a high proportion of crap, an even higher proportion of crap – they've always published crap – but my idea of being a writer was not collaborating with anybody else, it was not in being involved in the collaborative activity of the cinema, because that's what it is: I loved making up the stories, fitting the pieces together and delivering the first draft. After that, could we make it a bit more this? Do we have to do that? Could we possibly...? What about...? I get progressively more and more pissed off with that. I don't want to spend time with other people in a room having a conference. I don't believe in conferences – they waste my time. They don't waste the time of executives – they get paid to have them. I don't want to do that.

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: writing, solitude, cinema, stories, conference

Duration: 1 minute, 24 seconds

Date story recorded: March 2014

Date story went live: 10 September 2014