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'Everything in Patrimony did indeed happen'
Philip Roth Writer
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All... all I can say is that everything in it did indeed happen and everything in it was spoken the way I have it spoken in the book. There are probably omissions, but I didn't have to invent anything. I didn't want to invent anything, that wasn't the point. It never dawned on me that I should make this into a piece of fiction because what... what was powerful for me and poignant was that it all had happened. It all had happened, it was... it was a chapter in my life. A true story. A true story. I don't think I've ever done that before or since.

The fame of the American writer Philip Roth (1933-2018) rested on the frank explorations of Jewish-American life he portrayed in his novels. There is a strong autobiographical element in much of what he wrote, alongside social commentary and political satire. Despite often polarising critics with his frequently explicit accounts of his male protagonists' sexual doings, Roth received a great many prestigious literary awards which include a Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1997, and the 4th Man Booker International Prize in 2011.

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: Patrimony

Duration: 50 seconds

Date story recorded: March 2011

Date story went live: 18 March 2013