David Lodge: The novelist as memoirist – Thursday 1 November 2018 6.30pm


“The talk is about two memoirs I wrote over last few years: Quite A Good Time To Be Born : A Memoir 1935-1975  and Writer’s Luck: A Memoir 1976-19.  I brought out the first volume to coincide with my 80th birthday in 2015. The second one was published earlier this year. Most people who write their memoirs do so late in life, for obvious reasons, but novelists have a special reason for delaying.  If they write about contemporary life they usually draw on their own experience for the raw material of their fictions, but they use this material in complex ways, combining real facts with imagined events to create an alternative world.  Only the author actually knows which elements in it have their origin in real experience and which are imagined.  Part of the interest of reading novelists’ memoirs, or  biographies of them written by other hands, is to discover the sources in real life of memorable episodes in works of fiction. But this is a revelation the novelist would prefer to postpone as long as possible, so that his or her work can be judged and enjoyed as art before its sources in reality are revealed.”