My proposal for my first book, “You Can Read This Book” (YCRTB) is as follows.

  1. Standard edition. This should consist of a cover with “You Can Read This Book”, my name, and a link to written on it. Inside, the book should be blank, apart from a first page with the following instructions:

a) All these instructions are optional. You can of course simply buy the book and put it on a shelf and forget all about it.

b) Choose a nice pen and a comfortable place.

c) Either choose one question from my 1,001 Questions for the 21st Century and answer it, or answer all the 1,001 questions on the blank pages of the book.

d) Send the book back to the publishers with your answers in it (or alternatively photocopy your answers and send them back).

e) The writer of the best answer by an arbitrary date such as 1st January 2020 gets the opportunity not to go for lunch with me in an LDN restaurant.

2.  Limited Coffee Table edition. A special coffee table edition which should match Norman Mailer by being sold for 112,500 Britcoins. The format of the book should be the same – i.e. cover with title on and blank inside, but with a very small hand-made drawing of a coffee table in gold pen on the back cover.

Please note: the launch party is limited to those people who have helped and supported my work up to the writing of this note. They know precisely who they are. If the eventual publisher is a minnow, then it will be have to be ‘bring your own cake and drinks in carrier bags’ I am afraid.  Dress code: incognito.

After 35 years of waiting at the literary equivalent of a bus shelter, it really could be any moment now.


Were I to eventually receive a literary prize such as the Nobel Prize for Literature, I would like any monetary funds accrued from it to be divided as follows:

1.  50% to family

2.  50% to a fund to build a new library that might or might not be 24 hour in Guildford, Surrey, which is where I grew up.  In my mind, it should either be a rotunda or a geodesic dome, but I am not an architect.  In my head, it might be interesting for it to be located on the North Downs looking down on to the High Street which is where I used to go in the 1990s as a teenager with books (quite a lot of Franz Kafka ones as I recall) to relax and cogitate in private.  I have no idea about planning permission and so forth though, so as with the design and structure of the building, I leave that to other people to decide.  In the era of hyper-literacy, a library is, arguably, even more important than ever, because people need guides to help them negotiate the explosion of print and expression.  It might be quite nice to have a dome looking up to the sky so that people can dream big as they read but again – I am not a details man, and I am no architect.

So who knows – one day, perhaps, you might not only be able to read my book, but read it whilst at the same time looking through a telescope at the stars.  People who regularly lose their library cards will be particularly welcome to sit on the Devereux chair, as I have lost more library cards over the years than I have had hot dinners.

Much love.


20th/21st/22ndJune 2013

Picture of the roof of the Montpelier Rotunda from Wikipedia.

Picture of the roof of the Montpelier Rotunda from Wikipedia.