Saturday, February 21, 2009

Mary Wesley 1912-2002

"I have no patience with people who grow old at sixty just because they are entitled to a bus pass. Sixty should be the time to start something new, not put your feet up."
-Mary Wesley, in an interview in 2002.

Wesley published her first novel when she was 70, then wrote and published about ten novels in the next twenty years, and saw considerable success. Her work is witty, racy, emotionally vivid, and complex.

Here's her obit in the London Times:

"Mary Wesley gave heart to countless impecunious, unpublished novelists when her first novel, Jumping the Queue, was published in 1983. Wesley was then 70 years old, and the book was a gratifying success, much trumpeted in the press as the work of a promising new talent...

Reluctantly, Wesley found she had to play the publicity game. Journalists whose nerves had survived the ordeal of being chauffeured by Wesley from Totnes railway station would be fed on soup, salad and wine, and treated to brisk accounts of her writing methods.

Television producers soon realised what a rich seam the novels represented. Peter Hall’s adaptation of The Camomile Lawn was particularly full of lingering nude scenes which Wesley detested: “They were so out of keeping with the period. Nobody had central heating in those days.”



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