Clive James CBE

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Agent: Robert Kirby
Assistant: Kate Walsh

Presenting

Agent: Maureen Vincent (with Lorna Fallowfield)
Associate Agent: Lorna Fallowfield

Books

Clive James if the author of more than thirty books. As well as his three previous volumes of autobiography, UNRELIABLE MEMOIRS, FALLING TOWARDS ENGLAND, and MAY WEEK WAS IN JUNE, he has published collections of literary and television criticism, essays, travel writing, verse, and novels. As a television performer he has appeared regularly for both the BBC and ITV, most notably as writer and presenter of the Postcard series of travel documentaries. He helped to found the independent television production company Watchmaker and the Internet enterprise Welcome Stranger, one of whose offshoots is a multimedia personal website, www.clivejames.com. In 1992 he was made a Member of the Order of Australia and in 2003 he was awarded the Philip Hodgins memorial medal for literature.

His latest books are CULTURAL AMNESIA: Notes in the Margin of My Time and ANGELS OVER ELSINORE: Collected Verse 2003-2008.

June 2009 saw the publication of THE REVOLT OF THE PENDULUM: Essays 2005-2008.

A Point of View was published in 2011. His latest collection of poetry Nefertiti in the Flak Tower is out now. 

Clive James was awarded a CBE in 2012 and was honoured in the 2013 Australia Day Honours List.

His translation of THE DIVINE COMEDY was published in May 2013 by W.W. Norton in the US and Macmillan in the UK. His latest works, POETRY NOTEBOOK; 2006-2014, SENTENCED TO LIFE and LATEST READINGS are all available now.

Poetry

Publication DetailsNotes
2015

Picador

In his new, bestselling, collection of poems - several of which have already become famous before their book publication - Clive James looks back over an extraordinarily rich life with a clear-eyed and unflinching honesty. There are regrets, but no trace of self-pity in these verses, which - for all their open dealings with death and illness - are primarily a celebration of what is treasurable and memorable in our time here.

Again and again, James reminds us that he is not only a poet of effortless wit and lyric accomplishment: he is also an immensely wise one, who delights in using poetic form to bring a razor-sharp focus to his thought. Miraculously, these poems see James writing with his insight and energy not only undiminished but positively charged by his situation: Sentenced to Life represents a career high point from one of the greatest literary intelligences of the age

2013

W.W. Norton

The Divine Comedy is the precursor of modern literature, and Clive James's new translation--decades in the making--presents Dante's entire epic poem in a single song. While many poets and translators have attempted to capture the full glory of The Divine Comedy in English, many have fallen short, according to Clive James, the best-selling author of Cultural Amnesia. Victorian verse translations established an unfortunate tradition of reproducing the sprightly rhyming measures of Dante but at the same time betraying the strain on the translator's powers of invention. For Dante, the dramatic human stories of Hell were exciting, but the spiritual studies in Purgatory and the sublime panoramas of Heaven were no less so. In this incantatory, new translation, James--defying the convention by writing in quatrains--tackles these problems head-on and creates a striking and hugely accessible translation that gives us The Divine Comedy as a whole, unified, and dramatic work.

2009

Picador

"Opal Sunset" gathers together fifty years of Clive James' poetry, and will undoubtedly enhance his reputation as one of the most versatile and accomplished of contemporary writers. Indeed - as with "Other Passports", "The Book of my Enemy" and "Angels Over Elsinore" before it - "Opal Sunset" proves Clive James to be as well suited to the intense demands of the poetic form as he is to prose.

2012

Picador

A new collection of poetry from the great Australian writer
Clive James’ power as a poet has increased year by year, and there has been no stronger evidence for this than Nefertiti in the Flak Tower.

2008

Picador

Well-known for his prose, as well as his TV appearances, Clive James has also established a name for himself in the world of poetry.

Non-Fiction

Publication DetailsNotes
2016

Picador

Over a period of fifteen years Clive James learned French by almost no other method than reading À la recherche du temps perdu. Then he spent half a century trying to get up to speed with Proust's great novel in two different languages. Gate of Lilacs is the unique product of James's love and engagement with Proust's eternal masterpiece.

2015

Picador

In 2010, Clive James was diagnosed with terminal leukemia. Deciding that "if you don't know the exact moment when the lights will go out, you might as well read until they do," James moved his library to his house in Cambridge, where he would "live, read, and perhaps even write." James is the award-winning author of dozens of works of literary criticism, poetry, and history, and this volume contains his reflections on what may well be his last reading list. A look at some of James's old favorites as well as some of his recent discoveries, this book also offers a revealing look at the author himself, sharing his evocative musings on literature and family, and on living and dying. As thoughtful and erudite as the works of Alberto Manguel, and as moving and inspiring as Randy Pausch's The Last Lecture and Will Schwalbe's The End of Your Life Book Club, this valediction to James's lifelong engagement with the written word is a captivating valentine from one of the great literary minds of our time.

2014

Picador UK/ W.W Norton US

Clive James is one of our finest critics and best-loved cultural voices. He is also a prize-winning poet. Since he was first enthralled by the mysterious power of poetry, he has been a dedicated student. In fact, for Clive, poetry has been nothing less than the occupation of a lifetime, and in this book he presents a distillation of all he's learned about the art form that matters to him most.

With his customary wit, delightfully lucid prose style and wide-ranging knowledge, Clive explains the difference between the innocuous stuff that often passes for poetry today and a real poem: the latter being a work of unity that insists on being heard entire and threatens never to leave the memory. A committed formalist and an astute commentator, Clive offers close and careful readings of individual poems and poets (from Shakespeare to Larkin, Keats to Pound), and in some case second readings or re-readings late in life - just to be sure he wasn't wrong the first time! Whether discussing technical details of metaphorical creativity or simply praising his five favourite collections of all time, he is never less than captivating.

Filled with insight and written with an honest, infectious enthusiasm, Poetry Notebook is the product of over fifty years of writing, reading, translating and thinking about poetry.

2011

Picador

The BBC Radio 4 series A Point of View has been on the air since 2007. Over the years, it’s had a variety of presenters – including the national treasure that is Clive James – talking for ten minutes about anything and everything that has captured their imagination, piqued their interest, raised their blood pressure or just downright incensed them that week.

Clive James was one of the favourite presenters, and now, for the first time, his original pieces – sixty in total – and all-new postscripts are collected together in one volume.

Read along with Clive James as he reflects on everything from wheelie bins to plastic surgery, Elizabeth Hurley to the Olympics, 24 to Damien Hirst, Harry Potter to giving up smoking, car parks to Chinese elections, Britain’s Got Talent to the expenses scandal – and plenty more besides.

Essentially a chronicle of life in twenty-first century Britain, A Point of View is informed and informative, thoughtful and thought-provoking – but above all, entertaining. In fact, in short, it’s a damn good read.

2010

The Folio Society

From causing havoc on building sites to hitting small girls with a wet handkerchief, from inopportune reactions in the swimming pool to obsessive longing for one girl after another, Clive James’s outspoken and delightful memoir of growing up in post-war Australia has won a place in the hearts of readers the world over.

2009

Picador

For many people, Clive James will always be a TV presenter first and foremost, and a writer second - this despite the fact that his adventures with the written word took place before, during and after his time on the small screen. Nevertheless, for those who remember clips of Japanese endurance gameshows and Egyptian soap operas, Clive reinventing the news or interviewing Hefner and Hepburn, Polanski and Pavarotti, Clive's 'Postcards' from Kenya, Shanghai and Dallas, or Clive James Racing Driver, Clive's rightful place does seem to be right there - on the box, in our homes, and almost one of the family. However you think of him, though, and whatever you remember him for, "The Blaze of Obscurity" is perhaps Clive's most brilliant book yet. Part Clive James on TV and part Clive James on TV, it tells the inside story of his years in television, shows Clive on top form both then and now, and proves - once and for all - that Clive has a way with words ...whatever the medium.

2009

Picador

Illuminating, insightful, informed, inspired, and intelligent, these are words that could - and do - apply equally to book or author; in fact, "The Revolt of the Pendulum", Clive James' latest essay collection, shows James at his most dazzling and versatile best yet. From the rules of grammar to the fundamentals of religion, from the culture of fandom to the cult of the critic, it's all there: his customary wit, learning and understanding; his precise way with words and pointed comments; his ear for language and eye for detail; and, his ability to focus on the finer points and the bigger picture simultaneously - not to mention the sheer scope of his subject matter.

2008

Picador

'A gigantic book on a gigantic theme' - "Sunday Times". 'Aphoristic and acutely provocative: a crash course in civilization' - J. M. Coetzee. A lifetime in the making, "Cultural Amnesia" is the book Clive James has always wanted to write. Organized from A through to Z, and containing over 100 essays, it's the ultimate guide to the twentieth-century, illuminating the careers of many of its greatest thinkers, humanists, musicians, artists and philosophers.

2008

Pan

'When we got off the ship in Southampton in that allegedly mild January of 1962 I had nothing to declare at customs except goose-pimples under my white nylon drip-dry shirt.' In the first volume of "Unreliable Memoirs", we said farewell to our hero as he set sail from Sydney Harbor, bound for London, fame and fortune. Finding the first of these proved relatively simple; the second two less so.

Presenting