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Tuesday, 20 May 2008

"A beautiful writer"

That his name was perhaps not as familiar outside literary circles as it deserved (he was always well respected by other authors: Salman Rushdie called him "a beautiful writer", and to Edward Blishen he was "simply one of the most astonishingly good novelists of our time") may be because Roy was not one to parade details of his personal life in public, believing that his work should speak for itself. As he explained in "Art and Experience", his 1983 Edgar Mittelholzer memorial lecture, delivered in Georgetown: "The price the artist pays for his egotism is a high one. On one level egotism obliges him to create, while the same egotism threatens to destroy him. Success not only goes to his head, it remains there, creating demands he cannot hope to satisfy. I am acutely aware of all this and therefore try to shun gratuitous publicity."

-- From Margaret Busby's obituary of the late Roy A.K. Heath in today's UK Guardian. There is also appended a moving personal note by Anne Walmsley, Heath's first editor (and good friend of the CRB).

Further: the Literary Saloon offers excerpts from three reviews of Heath's novels.

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