JG Ballard's suburban crash pad goes on sale

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The Independent Online

JG Ballard's rather drab semi-detached home in Shepperton is inextricably linked with the life of one of post-war fiction's greatest talents. Many of the country's best writers visited him during the 49 years he lived in this sleepy suburb, where he crafted the dystopian thrillers Crash and Cocaine Nights.

Mr Ballard's former partner, Claire Walsh, has told friends the house is on the property market following the writer's death in 2009. Estate agent Haart calls the house a "spacious three-bedroom semi-detached house situated just moments from Shepperton High Street" which is "in need of refurbishment". The asking price for a piece of literary history is just under £320,000.

Mr Ballard moved to Old Charlton Road, Shepperton, in 1960, and wrote his first novel, The Wind From Nowhere, two years later, before becoming a full-time writer. His wife died in 1964, leaving him to raise their children, James, Fay and Bea. In the house, he would write longhand between 10am and 1pm in his sitting room, producing around 1,000 words a day. He wrote 18 published novels in his career.

In his later years, visitors to Mr Ballard's house often remarked on how different it was to the apocalyptic scenes in his books. In a piece on Mr Ballard in the The Atlantic in December 2009, Christopher Hitchens described Shepperton as "almost laughably tranquil".

Of meeting Mr Ballard at his home in Shepperton, the award-winning novelist Martin Amis wrote in 2009: "He told me that 'Crash freaks', from, say, the Sorbonne, would visit expecting to find a miasma of lysergic-acid and child abuse. In fact, what they found was a robustly rounded and amazingly cheerful suburbanite."