Hay Player

Diana Athill, Andrea Ashworth, John Walsh

Memoir

Hay Festival 2000, 
Athill is one of publishings legends. She worked for the BBC throughout the second world war and then helped Andre Deutsch establish the publishing company that bore his name. For almost fifty years she was widely regarded as one of the finest editors in London working with Naipaul, Jean Rhys, Gitta Sereby and Brian Moore. She was also a considerable and unjustly neglected writer. Two of what she called her 'documentary books,' Instead of a Letter and After a Funeral anticipated the modern memoir in their directness and intimacy. Ashworth's remarkable memoir of a very disturbed 1970s childhood Once in a House of Fire is hailed as a searing masterpiece. Walsh's The Falling Angels is a stunning portrait of his Irish youth in Battersea, and gives a beautifully rendered account of his mother's death.