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Freelancing [Hardcover]

Hugo Williams
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

1 Dec 1995
Since beginning his 'Freelance' column in the Times Literary Supplement in 1988, poet and travel-writer Hugo Williams has visited Sarajevo, Central America, Jerusalem, Skyros, Portugal and Norwich. Part-time teaching jobs, literary festivals and writing courses have kept him both busy and bemused, but he has also found time to get a taste of roistering, cross-dressing, tight-rope walking, drug-scoring, fashion modelling and archaeology. Memories of his apprenticeship at the London Magazine and of Soho in the '70s, encounters with the likes of Yevgeny Yevtushenko, Gioconda Belli and the station master at Gospel Oak, news of a bogus 'Ted Hughes', evocations of the theatrical world of his parents and of his wife's French childhood - these are among the things that have occupied his constantly questing mind. The despatches collected in Freelancing amount to a piecemeal autobiography, in the course of which the author's Selected Poems are published, his mother dies, his wife inherits a chateau and he crashes his motorbike. Always elegantly turned, frequently hilarious, at times surprisingly poignant, Hugo Williams's column has earned him a devoted following among readers of the TLS - one due to be enlarged by the publication of this book.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber (1 Dec 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571175759
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571175758
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 14.6 x 22.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 466,125 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format:Hardcover
He's not the greatest poet, as I'm sure he'd be first to admit, but he is treasurable, and these downloads from his meandering TLS column, far from comprehensive even at that date, almost twenty years ago now (think of it!) ask to be taken slowly (it has never strayed far from my bedside); his self-deprecating charm, or 'inverted arrogance', shines from the page. 'I have come to the conclusion that it is better to say nothing at all to a hairdresser, for fear of being misunderstood.' The only bum note is an odd science fiction story from 30/7/93. Fiction isn't his bag. His favourite poem at school, he tells us, was If I were Lord of Tartary. Funny, I was exposed to it too at an impressionable age, and loathed it. (The other one is 'I remember, I remember'; would I could forget it!) HW now sadly battles ill health, and occasionally tells us about it. More happily, this book is once again in print
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Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
4.0 out of 5 stars Delightful columns collected during the meanderings of a poet 9 Sep 2013
By David Ljunggren - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Hugo Williams is a respected British poet and (when this book came out in 1995) was also a freelance columnist for various British newspapers and other publications. A column gives you great freedom to write what you want but the drawback is the deadline; even if you don't have an idea in your head (and at one point Williams suffers such a bad case of writer's block that he heads off into a dubious part of south London to buy pot) you have to produce. So we watch as he travels across Britain and Europe to teach creative writing courses to students who really won't benefit much and also drinks quite a lot. We learn about his artistic parents, who acted and wrote plays, and his wife, who is an artist with a habit of getting into trouble. Although some of the columns are humdrum, very few are boring, and that's quite a feat when you're reading them more than 20 years after they were first published. Williams has a chatty pleasant tone that keeps you stuck to the page even when he wanders into more thoughtful challenging territory. I reread this work last week for the first time in more than 15 years and I'm glad I did.
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