22. ilb 07. - 17.09.2022

Martin Louis Amis

Martin Louis Amis was born in 1949 in Oxford, the son of writer Kingsley Amis. After studying at Oxford University’s Exeter College, Amis worked as a literary critic for the »Observer« and as editor of the »Times Literary Supplement« from 1974. Five years later, Amis stopped working as a journalist in order to concentrate full-time on his writing.

His 1973 debut novel »The Rachel Papers« won the Somerset Maugham Award for the best novel by a writer under thirty-five. Martin Amis’ father had won the same prize 19 years earlier with »Lucky Jim« (1954). Amis’ works satirize the excesses of late-capitalist Western societies. One exception is his autobiography »Experience« (2000), in which he talks primarily about the great losses in his life, such as the death of his father in 1995. The book was hailed by critics as a future classic in the memoire genre. Martin Amis’ best-known works include »Money – A Suicide Note« (1984) and »London Fields« (1989). »Money« was included in the »Guardian«’s list of the thousand novels everyone should have read. In it, the narrator John Self tells of his meteoric rise in the world of advertising and film – and of his hard landing when illusions are dispelled and his very identity is questioned. With the stylistic device of using the monologues of an often very drunk, long-winded and repetitious protagonist, Amis limits his narrative options – but exploits them like the master he is. A movie of his thriller »London Fields«, about a terminally ill novelist who has been suffering from writer’s block for twenty years when he meets a mysterious femme fatale, will be released in cinemas in 2015. Most recently, Amis – who has concerned himself with Holocaust themes since his youth – returned to the subject in »The Zone of Interest« (2014), his fourteenth novel. In it, Amis describes a love story between a Nazi officer and the wife of the camp commandant at Auschwitz, revealing the moral contradictions in which perpetrators entangle themselves. Along with many volumes of short stories and nonfiction, including »Koba the Dread: Laughter and the Twenty Million« (2002), his work on Josef Stalin, Amis also pays tribute in his essays to other novelists, such as Vladimir Nabokov, Philip Roth, John Updike and Saul Bellow.

Martin Amis lives in New York.