A startling and brilliant biography that reads like a Rake’s Progress for the 21st century' - Daily Mail
Though born into privilege and inheriting a fortune, Willie Donaldson ended up dying alone in a seedy rented flat, his computer still logged on to a lesbian porn site. To some, he had been one of the great, under-rated comic writers of our time, and to others, a dangerous force of corruption and decadence.
His achievements were significant – he published Sylvia Plath while still at Cambridge, as a producer in the Sixties he staged Beyond the Fringe,
and he was later to write the celebrated Henry Root Letters
– but not as impressive as his reckless talent for self-destruction. The impresario became a serial bankrupt. The man about town, who had lived with Sarah Miles and been engaged to Carly Simon, ended up as a ponce in a Chelsea brothel. Success as a writer quickly led him into a dark underworld of crack addiction, fraud and sexual obsession. Now friend and collaborator, Terence Blacker unravels the intimate truth of Willie Donaldson's strange story in all its glamour, hilarity and pain.
‘What a young fool I was. But how I adored him’ Carly Simon
‘A slimy crook’ Private Eye
‘For the skill and wit of his writing he deserves to be hailed as the English Nabokov’ Auberon Waugh
‘I am someone who always answers the phone at 1.00 am, because I know it isn’t going to be my bank manager or the Inland Revenue, but probably a crack dealer or a prostitute’ Willie Donaldson
Terence Blacker read English at Cambridge and worked in publishing before becoming a full-time writer during the 1980s. He has written four novels, including the acclaimed Kill Your Darlings
, and is a successful writer of children’s fiction. He currently writes a twice-weekly column for the Independent
and is a regular broadcaster. He lives in Norfolk, where he plays the guitar and grows trees.
A startling and brilliant biography that reads like a Rake’s Progress for the 21st century,Once in a blue moon comes a biography that has the texture of life-as-it-is-lived, the usual province of fiction… With stealth and sympathy, the biographer has followed his subject’s footsteps into all sorts of strange by-ways, most of them frightening or humiliating or forlorn,Superb… it would be a brilliant picaresque novel, if it were not all true,Utterly gripping... hilarious, heartbreaking,Sympathetic and extremely enjoyable,A splendidly entertaining romp through a life misled,Terrific,[A] superb and sensational rummage inside the head of a man who was “full of strangeness and wonderful gamey variety",A very funny book