In the events I did while in France, it was common for people not just to ask me if The Champion’s New Clothes/Le Champion Nu is autobiographical, but to seem to want it to be. (It isn’t.)
My Scottish and American novels have one thing in common: they’re the stories of people and places, not a person, and not this person. It’s currently fashionable to talk about “the right to tell your own story” — but what if, like me, you don’t want to tell your own story, because you don’t find it interesting? And “the right to tell your own story” isn’t a right, because it’s dependent on people being interested in listening to the story you’re telling. Otherwise, you’re not telling a story, just talking to yourself, and even you might not be listening.
At Un aller-retour dans le noir today, my book Le Champion Nu, which I wrote 32 years ago, won the Prix Marianne. Pau is a beautiful city, and the festival is a marvel (amazing to see so many people of all ages who’re serious about books), and I’ve made some new friends.
Speaking of friends… I’m immensely grateful to Mikael Demets, my editor at Editions Tusitala for publishing this book and Le livre de l’homme, and to the great Laurence Viallet, who translated them. Nine bows.
In the summer of 1989, I finished writing my second novel, The Champion's New Clothes. It was a few months before my first, Of Darkness and Light, was published by Bloomsbury. They bought the second one right away, but took almost two years to publish it. Scotland on Sunday called it “entertaining, raw and punkish,” with “scenes of rampant evil.” It soon went out of print, and remained so for more than a decade.