Authors who look like their writing: #5 Will Self


This edition of the series was nominated by Mame from’m always up for taking suggestions so please shout if you want to nominate an author to be featured.

“What excites me is to disturb the reader’s fundamental assumptions.”

– Will Self

When I lived in Stockwell (South London) I would often pass Will Self, cycling with his kids, as I made my way to the Tube station on the way to work. Self is one of those ‘famous’ people who I could feel proud about living round the corner from. If he lived there, then it was clearly an area fit for creative types who bucked against the establishment and forged their own unique path. In addition, his writing gave the impression that he might just be a little unhinged. Excellent. Yes, this is someone I was happy to share a neighbourhood with.

He’d be so happy to know that.

But it’s the writing that makes the man – and I do believe he exudes the way in which he writes. He takes the everyday and twists it. He perverts it. He exaggerates the absurd and often ties it up in fantastical and surreal worlds. He’ll satirise pretty much anything and he’s happy to make you squirm. And that’s an author I want to read.


18 thoughts on “Authors who look like their writing: #5 Will Self

      1. ioniamartin

        Have you ever read a book that you read a couple of passages in and you liked them so much that it made up for the stuff you didn’t? It was kind of like that.

      2. beautifulorange Post author

        Ha. There you go then! I’ve felt the same way about a couple of his books. But Book Of Dave is one of my all time favourite novels. And Great Apes is brilliant too. I need to read Umbrella, which had fantastic reviews.

      1. john zande

        I’ve heard the name but other than that he’s a complete mystery. I’ll have to dive in now with your recommendation. You are a man of consummate taste, Orange.

      2. beautifulorange Post author

        Flattery will get you everywhere John. Like I said to Ionia, Book of Dave is my favourite (but it may be tough for a non-Brit) – but have a look at Great Apes an Umbrella.

  1. madamebibilophile

    I too live in south London & have seen Will Self around (I once read an article he wrote on flaneurs, I guess he practices what he preaches). He looks so much like his writing, a truly arresting sight. So thin he appears 7 foot tall and a face that seems to attack the space in front of it. As an admiring reader I found him a truly gratifying sight.

      1. madamebibilophile

        Not at all, but thanks for the compliment! You’ve reminded me that Book of Dave is buried somewhere on my bookshelf gathering dust, I must dig it out & finally get round to reading it.

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