At a literary festival in Bordeaux I found myself being introduced to the French writer Frédéric Verger. I wasn’t familiar with the name and he explained that he had published just one novel, but that it had been shortlisted for this year’s Prix Goncourt. Since he was evidently in his mid-fifties, I was surprised, and asked him how come he had started so late. He explained that he had tried novels in his early twenties, been rejected, spent much of his life teaching literature in high school and then decided to try again, this time with success. It was an unusual story. I asked him how his presentations were going at the festival and he said fine, except that at the end the public asked such dumb questions.
“Like why I’ve only written one novel when I’m fifty-four.”
- Tim Parks, 'Stupid Questions', New York Review of Books blog, 1 May 2014
Books: Mr Betteredge's experience of married life, 25 April 2014
Books: Dickens & Dostoyevsky, 3 January 2014
Books: Ishmaelia, and the art of the two-word scoop, 18 September 2013