22. ilb 07. - 17.09.2022

Will Self

Will Self © Hartwig Klappert

Will Self was born in 1961 in London. From age 10, he was an avid reader of science fiction (Frank Herbert, J. G. Ballard, and Philip K. Dick). At Exeter College, Oxford, he studied philosophy, politics, and economics and was the editor of a left-wing student paper. He later worked as a journalist, cartoonist and cabaret artist.

He gained public recognition with his short story collection »The Quantity Theory of Insanity« (1991); critics hailed him as an original new talent and »Granta« magazine nominated him as one of the twenty »Best Young British Novelists« in 1993. His style is extreme; his observations and analyses of the realm between normality and psychosis are reported stoically and precisely. His literary oeuvre currently comprises ten novels, five short story collections, and three novellas. In »Liver« (2008), Self tells the story of the English widow Joyce Beddoes, who suffers from liver cancer and travels with her alcoholic daughter to Switzerland, where she plans to die »with dignity«. At the last minute, however, she refuses the deadly poison and leaves the clinic. As she wanders through Zurich without her daughter, her health gradually improves until the tumor is no longer detectable. »A highly entertaining about wonder, belief, and the meaning of life« (»SRF«). His most recent novel »Phone« (2017) is the conclusion of a 1,500-page trilogy about the London psychiatrist Zack Busner, who has a distinct propensity for grandstanding at the expense of his clients. »Umbrella« (2012) connects a suffragette’s life story with that of Busner. »Shark« (2014) is set in 1970s London in an experimental commune run by Busner, where members and their traumata sustained in the Pacific War collide. Memory and reality ecstatically merge into a stream-of-consciousness narrative.

As a journalist and columnist, Self regularly contributes to various periodicals including »The Guardian«, »Harper’s«, »The New York Times«, the »New Statesman«, and »Playboy«. His columns have also appeared in collections such as »Junk Mail« (2001), »Psychogeography« (2007), and »The Unbearable Lightness of Being a Prawn Cracker« (2012). He has also made a name for himself as a political commentator, non-fiction author, and radio and TV host. He is furthermore known for his city tours and was a member of the punk band »The Abusers«. Self lives in London.