Fun Facts Friday: Clive James

October 7, 2022

Clive James (October 7, 1939 – November 24, 2019) was a novelist, memoirist, poet, journalist, critic, and broadcaster from Australia. He is known for wry humor.

Fun Facts Friday: Clive James
Books by Clive James*

Fun Facts about Clive James:

  1. Born as Vivian Leopold James in Kogarah, a suburb of Sydney, Australia. Minora James, his mother, named him Vivian McGrath after the star of the 1938 Australian Davis cup team. A few years later, his name was thought to be a girl’s name due to the fame of Vivien Leigh in Gone with the Wind, regardless of spelling. He chose the name Clive, after Tyron Power’s character in the movie This Above All (1942).
  2. His father, Albert Arthur James, was taken as a Japanese POW during World War II. He survived the POW camp but died when the B-24 carrying him and other freed allied POWs crashed in a typhoon.
    The author said that his life’s work started when his father died.
  3. After graduating from the University of Sydney, he worked for a year as assistant editor for the magazine The Sydney Morning Herald.
  4. In 1962, Clive James moved to England, and stayed there for the rest of his life. He worked a bunch of short-term jobs but they all ended in disaster.
  5. James finally found his place in 1972 when he became a TV critic for The Observer. In fact, he pioneered modern TV criticism.
  6. As a polyglot, Clive James spoke French, German, Italian, Spanish, and Japanese, as well as Russian which he learned so he could read the poetry of Alexander Pushkin in its original form.
  7. Over the years, Mr. James published several books of poetry, including four mock-heroic poems.
  8. He collaborated with English musician Pete Atkin on six song albums and even toured with him to promote the final album Live Libel (1975)
  9. In 2007 Mr. James started presenting the BBC Radio 4 series A Point of View. Three of his broadcasts were shortlisted for the 2008 Orwell Prize.
  10. James was a heavy smoker and drinker, even though he tried, at times, to give them up without success. In 2011 he suffered a kidney failure, and has been talking about death until it eventually happened in 2019.

Books by Clive James*

Zohar — Man of la Book
*Ama­zon links point to an affil­i­ate account, the money is usually spent on books

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Fun Facts Friday: Clive James
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Fun Facts Friday: Clive James
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Clive James (October 7, 1939 - November 24, 2019) was a novelist, memoirist, poet, journalist, critic, and broadcaster from Australia. He is known for wry humor.
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Man of la Book - A Bookish Blog
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