• Text size      
  • Send this article to a friend
  • Print this article

Playwright Bennett: Modern American literature is best

Playwright Alan Bennett has suggested that he is more impressed with contemporary US literature than its English counterpart, saying that home-grown writers have little to tell him.

The prolific writer, 79, also said that writing had become more difficult with age.

In an extract from his BBC4 interview with outgoing National Theatre boss Sir Nicholas Hytner, published in the Radio Times, The History Boys writer said: "I'm very ill-read. I know that sounds overmodest but it's quite true.

"I like American literature more than I do contemporary English literature. I like Philip Roth, for instance."

He added: "I don't feel any of the people writing in England can tell me very much. That may be unfair."

Bennett, who turns 80 later this month, said that writing had become tougher with age and that the output he had already produced did not give him any comfort.

"I find it harder and harder to write but then I always have found it hard to write. I never really believe in writer's block; all writing is writer's block.

"Looking back on your life, the things you remember are the things that you didn't do. A lot of that will be to do with sex, I suppose.

"It's in my nature to feel somehow that one has missed out. It's my view of my own life except that I've been very, very lucky. I met my partner (Bennett is in a civil partnership with journalist Rupert Thomas) quite late in life and so the last part of my life is much happier than the first part."

Contextual targeting label: 
Arts and Entertainment

Commenting & Moderation

We moderate all comments on HeraldScotland on either a pre-moderated or post-moderated basis.
If you're a relatively new user then your comments will be reviewed before publication and if we know you well and trust you then your comments will be subject to moderation only if other users or the moderators believe you've broken the rules

Moderation is undertaken full-time 9am-6pm on weekdays, and on a part-time basis outwith those hours. Please be patient if your posts are not approved instantly.