a story lives forever
Sign in
Form submission failed!

Stay signed in

Recover your password?
Form submission failed!

Web of Stories Ltd would like to keep you informed about our products and services.

Please tick here if you would like us to keep you informed about our products and services.

I have read and accepted the Terms & Conditions.

Please note: Your email and any private information provided at registration will not be passed on to other individuals or organisations without your specific approval.

Video URL

You must be registered to use this feature. Sign in or register.


Reproducing violence on the page


A gift from the god of writing!
Philip Roth Writer
Comments (0) Please sign in or register to add comments

My father had a housekeeper staying with him, so he... so he could... he... he ate... ate well and he could even have people in to have dinner, and he invited me over one night for dinner with him and his friend, Walter, who was a Holocaust survivor. And so I... I went. My nephews were also there, the housekeeper who was a friend of ours really, was also there for dinner, she... she made it. And... and he liked this, he... he felt like he was a human being. But the guy... I don't know if I can remember it exactly, but the... the guy was a gift from the god of writing. The god of writing looked down on me and put this fellow there for... for dinner. And my father wanted me to meet him because Walter was a Holocaust survivor and he... he'd written a book about being a Holocaust survivor and my father thought I could help him place his book. And he was a personable fellow, lively, in his 80s, and he gave me his book to read. So I took it home and I read it, and it was... it was pornography. It... it was about how – when he was living hidden away, he was hidden from the Nazis – he got laid all the time. And so... so I called my father up and I said, 'Do you know what this book is about?' 'No.' So I told him and we had a good laugh and so I put that in the book, too. But that was a gift... that was a gift from the god of writing. Yeah.

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: housekeeper, dinner party, Holocaust survivor, memoirs, pornography

Duration: 2 minutes, 9 seconds

Date story recorded: March 2011

Date story went live: 18 March 2013