The official website of the award-winning and best-selling novelist
Sebastian Faulks ~ The official website of the award-winning and best-selling novelist
Other Writing

This section of the website gives details of occasional writing by Sebastian.

Journalism gives details of recent and forthcoming articles in newspapers, periodicals and books. It may also include the text of the article itself.

New Parodies gives samples of pastiches broadcast on The Write Stuff on Radio 4 and one or two others done for fun.

Verse will give samples of Faulks’s occasional excursions into this form.

Consequences

1

In the gospels, Christ says ‘fear not’ or ‘be not afraid’ 366 times.
He did not forget leap years.

Under the Shah, Iran had the world’s worst human rights record.
With Islamic law, it may be worse.

Last August, two tourists stoned to death a swan in Hyde Park.
The companion shortly died of grief.

The average Soviet Union woman has had six abortions in her life.
Feminists put the rate at nearer ten.

On a New York cardiograph an Indian yogi showed no heart beat.
His heart beat too fast to register.

One day Edward Elgar must have sat down and written Nimrod.
Before that day it did not exist.

2

One day Edward Elgar must have sat down and written Nimrod.
His heart beat too fast to register.

In the gospels, Christ says ‘fear not’ or ‘be not afraid’ 366 times.
Feminists put the rate at nearer ten.

Under the Shah, Iran had the world’s worst human rights record.
Before that day it did not exist.

On a New York cardiograph an Indian yogi showed no heart beat.
He did not forget leap years.

Last August, two tourists stoned to death a swan in Hyde Park.
With Islamic law, it may be worse.

The average Soviet Union woman has had six abortions in her life.
The companion shortly died of grief.

3

On a New York cardiograph an Indian yogi showed no heart beat.
Feminists put the rate at nearer ten.

The average Soviet Union woman has had six abortions in her life.
With Islamic law, it may be worse.

Under the Shah, Iran had the world’s worst human rights record.
He did not forget leap years.

In the gospels, Christ says ‘fear not’ or ‘be not afraid’ 366 times.
Before that day it did not exist.

One day Edward Elgar must have sat down and written Nimrod.
The companion shortly died of grief.

Last August, two tourists stoned to death a swan in Hyde Park.
His heart beat too fast to register.

4

In the gospels, Christ says ‘fear not’ or ‘be not afraid’ 366 times.
He did not forget leap years.

Under the Shah, Iran had the world’s worst human rights record.
With Islamic law, it may be worse.

Last August, two tourists stoned to death a swan in Hyde Park.
The companion shortly died of grief.

The average Soviet Union woman has had six abortions in her life.
Feminists put the rate at nearer ten.

On a New York cardiograph an Indian yogi showed no heart beat.
His heart beat too fast to register.

One day Edward Elgar must have sat down and written Nimrod.
Before that day it did not exist.

( written March, 1982)

August 1940
August 1940

The sky’s a mess of Schmidts and Brauns
In Messerschmitts above the Sussex Downs.
Winston’s not yet got his boiler suit
A church hill’s just a chapel mount.
Alexander’s nicknamed great, but not in Tunis,
And Slim’s the chance we have against the Kraut.

Montgomery’s a town in Alabama
And Brooke’s a famous poet dead in Greece.
Our careless talk won’t make Sperrle less
While Kesselring is boiling without cease.

Göring, almost gone, are our defences,
As Rommel plans to pommel every door,
Till out at sea a frantic gesture’s made;
No use a friendly signal from the shore:–

For at this, our darkest hour, my friends,
We are not Wavell, but Dowding.

(written, Nantucket, August 2006)

John Le Carré

JOHN LE CARRE tries a chick lit romp

Fiona had finally persuaded hunky George Smiley to book a mini-break, and in the morning she received a printed postcard, second class. ‘Come to the Mason’s Arms, Railway Road, Beaconsfield at five o’clock. Ask for Mr White.’

Fiona screeched to a halt outside the hotel in her red Jilly Cooper Gti. The reception area smelled of… Bovril and paraffin. She had hoped for a log fire and champagne. After a sotto voce exchange by telephone, the night porter gained clearance to show Fiona to a safe room on the first floor. The single bed had a candlewick counterpane, and through the net curtain she could see the exit and the entrance to the car park.

George returned from the bathroom down the landing and  cleaned his spectacles on his tie, slowly, carefully, then replaced them on his nose.

‘Did anyone see you come in?’ he said.

‘Only the night manager,’ said Fiona. ‘Now, come on, Mr Grumpy, get those braces off.’

‘Were you followed?’ said George. ‘Do Brian’s people know you’re here?’

‘Brian’s at work, darling, I’ve told you.’

‘But who’s Brian working for?’ said George, taking off his glasses again and squeezing the bridge of his nose.

‘Abbey National, I’ve told you!’ said Fiona. ‘Ooh I love that thing you do with your nose.’

‘Mmm… I think Brian may have been turned,’ said George grimly. ‘Bradford’s been on to him. So’s Bingley.’

‘Darling,’ said Fiona. ‘Get under the blankets. Do that thing where you pretend to be a mole.’

George took off his glasses — yet again — and did as he was told, without committing himself.

‘That’s heaven,’ called out Fiona. ‘And how is it for you, George?’

‘I really couldn’t say,’ said Smiley, getting up and putting on his hat. ‘I have to go now. My wife telephoned. We’re taking the children to the Circus.’

Verse

LOUISE JOPLING

 

Between Octavia Hill (good works)

And Lady Colin Campbell (tart)

You stand, exemplar of a double

Life: severe, yet frivolous, your folded

Fan a dominatrix stick.

Louise Jopling

Louise, daughter of iron and steam,

Your railway past has yielded now

To London parties, studio oils;

Born Goode, then Romer, Jopling, Rowe,

You borrowed names of men in Paris,

Lost yours in Manchester or Crewe —

Your swelling hips in Millais’s hectic

Dress, so girlish one would hardly

a

Guess your later passion for

The female vote. Between the sensual

And serious, your level eyes declare

The woman’s purpose almost formed

Beneath the pretty, parted hair;

Claim victory in your skate-edged

Progress through a polar life.

Written for the National Portrait Gallery, April 2009

(detail from a portrait by Sir John Everett Millais, 1879)

New Parodies

A selection from The Write Stuff on Radio 4

ALLEN GINSBERG writes a Bedtime Collage

I have seen Humpty Dumpty in Bellevue Hospital where doctors

In white masks with electroshock try to put him together again

I have seen Miss Muffet ride a boxcar out of Denver past empty lots

And diner backyards while the ghosts of Whitman and Pound

Smoke marijuana from the ashcans and sit beside her tuffet

I have seen Jack Horner strung out on Benzedrine in a coldwater flat

Beneath the El, begging nickels from the Buddha

I have seen Danton and Baudelaire crawling on the stoops of Bowery

Fire-escapes to read the I-Ching in Fugazzi’s to an

Audience of three blind mice

I have sung all night in Luna Park where Bo-Peep naked with a baseball mit

Dove from a pea-green rowboat with a cat who thought he was an owl

I’ve been wasted all night in the Village Vanguard where Little Boy Blue

Came blow up his horn with Coltrane and Lester Young

I have seen Old King Cole pursued by fiddlers three in straitjackets hymning

Cuban revolution to the tune of Nature Boy or maybe it was Nat King Cole

In Atlantic City I have met a man who wasn’t there. We hitchhiked ten days

Through Nevada, living on Wild Turkey bourbon and grits. He wasn’t

There again today when we made love by the light of the Nickelodeon in Reno.

America, America, one day you’ll put a cow over the fucking moon.

America, America, one day you’ll put a cow over the moon.

(broadcast on The Write Stuff, Radio 4, October 26, 2010)

Journalism

Review in Sunday Times, November 21, 2010, of Lydia Davis translation of Madame Bovary for Penguin Classics.www.thesundaytimes.co.uk/sto/culture/books
/fiction/article450907.ece

Article in Simple Pleasures – Little Things That Make Life Worth Living, a National Trust anthology, published November 2010. shop.nationaltrust.org.uk

Article on pub signs in Icons of England ed. Bill Bryson, published by Black Swan for the Campaign to Protect Rural England, September 2008. www.cpre.org.uk/support/shop/icons-of-england

‘The Limey’ Article about US book tour in The Author magazine, June 2008

‘Notebook’ The Daily Telegraph May 27, 2008

Introduction to serialisation of Devil May Care in Times Magazine, May 24, 2008

‘The Writer’s Table’ List of favourite books chosen for Waterstone’s promotion, comments on some of them and on others originally selected but not available in sufficient numbers to be included. Books Section the Times, May 3, 2008

‘Seven Days’ Diary in The Observer April 20, 2008

‘Churchill’s Secret Army’, an extract from Introduction to Forgotten Voices of the SOE ed Roderick Bailey, published by Pavilion Books, Books Section, The Times, Saturday April 26, 2008

‘The neuroscience of art’  Book review, Proust Was a Neuroscientist by Jonah Lehrer, The Lancet, Vol 371, Number 697-784, March 1-7, 2008, pp 715-6

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