American writer Tom Reiss was awarded the prize for Biography for his book The Black Count on the life of Generale Alexandre Dumas, French-Caribbean military hero and father of novelist Alexandre Dumas père.
Adam Johnson was awarded the prize for Fiction for his North Korean-set novel The Orphan Master’s Son.
Photographs by Miriam Berkley (from National Book Critics Circles Readings and Awards, February 2013)
Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, German born writer from Cologne, died on 3 April 2013. She won the Booker award for her novel ‘Heat and Dust’. She collaborated with James Ivory and Ismail Merchant writing the screenplays for twenty films that they produced. She won her first Oscar for the film ‘Mr and Mrs Bridge’ in 1990 and her second for ‘Howard’s End’ in 1992. Ismail Merchant once commented: “It is a strange marriage we have at Merchant Ivory… I am an Indian Muslim, Ruth is a German Jew, and Jim is a Protestant American. Someone once described us as a three-headed god. Maybe they should have called us a three-headed monster!”
Eamonn McCabe continues to provide a wonderful photographic insight into the minds of authors, poets, novelists and cultural writers with his outstanding portrait photos. Writers are probably one of the hardest subjects to photograph as their profession takes place completely inside their heads. They don’t stand on a podium and wave a baton, or demonstrate the physical beauty of playing a musical instrument. The photographer has to somehow capture what it is that inspires authors to create and communicate this to his audience.
Shirley Hughes has captivated decades of young readers with her sympathetic characters and she smiles winningly at us, Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, who died on 3rd April as we are writing, seems to muse on the endless magic webs she spins around her characters in India and America. Chinua Achebe, the Nigerian author recognised for his key role in developing African literature, has died on 21st March in Boston, where he was working as a professor, draws us close in Eamonn McCabe’s photo. A C Grayling, Master of the New College of Humanities, welcomes us to his book lined office. Nadeem Aslam, the young British writer, sits anxiously on the edge of the bench. The skill of a great photographer is that he allows the viewer a place to weave their own fantasies around the images that he shows them. Eamonn McCabe fits into this category.
A short video of Charles Rosen, taken in Paris in March 2005 at the Ecole Normal Superieure by the photographer Marion Kalter (on her phone, it was all she had to hand), in which the great musical analyst gives a three-minute discourse on the making of Pierre Boulez.
He’s speaking fluent French, and you don’t need to understand that language in order to grasp the effortless authority that Charles exerted over an audience, any audience, whether as pianist, speaker or writer.
Zsuzsi Roboz‘ complete exhibition of author pictures from the Messum’s Fine Art Gallery of Cork Street, London can now be seen on our website at www.lebrecht.co.uk
The writers include Will Self, Anita Brookner, Brian Sewell, Hilary Mantel, Seamus Heaney, Josephine Hart, Colm Toibin, James Toibin. These portraits illustrate Zsuzsi Roboz’ finely honed skills as a draughtswoman and her insightful perception of her subjects. She always had the skill to intuit the very essence of her subjects. Her contribution to the world of art continues to be missed.