The Feral Beast: Novelist's friends snub 'Observer'

Leading authors have taken against The Observer, after one of its journalists went on a fishing expedition for colour on the novelist Alan Hollinghurst.

"Observer journalist phones to ask about my friend Hollinghurst," writes Philip Hensher on Facebook. "Hasn't read the book, about which I am (naturally) supposed to brief him in detail. Hasn't spoken to Alan, but believes he's a 'recluse'. (Ha, ha). Also wants me to do all this and spill the beans on my dear old friend.... Make my excuses and put the phone down." "How vile!" adds novelist Amanda Craig, demanding to know the name of the hack in question. Who could it be?

O'Toole survives curse of 'The Oldie'

The Oldie pulled off a coup getting Peter O'Toole to swing by for its monthly lunch at Simpsons-in-the-Strand last Tuesday. But they had to be careful with the seating plan, as journalist John "the curse" McEntee was also invited. McEntee interviewed Henry Cooper for The Oldie's "Still With Us" column last month, only for the boxer to die the day it came out. He also once killed off Ireland's oldest man, by getting him out of bed to pose for a photograph. "We didn't want the curse to strike this time," says organiser Claire Daly. "So we sat them well apart."

Custard pies thrown at red-tops

Andrew Bridgen bas been comprehensively done over after being named as the Tory MP accused of assaulting a researcher after a few drinks. But he can take some comfort in the fact that two newspapers were also humiliated in the reporting of his story. Both The Sun and the Daily Mail were confident that Mr Bridgen works part-time as a clown. Sadly, this is not true – it was inserted on Wikipedia as the story broke.

Spec's editor lunch has a taste of sage

Spectator editor Fraser Nelson was spotted having lunch with Washington Post columnist Anne Applebaum, who was once deputy editor at the Spec under Dominic Lawson. Is Fraser looking to pick up some tips? "Fraser is absolutely charming and we had a lovely lunch," Anne tells me. "He treated me like a great sage, though in fact I am only 10 years older than him." Fraser was 36 when he became editor, though Applebaum was an astonishing 24 when she joined as number two.

Sweet and sour sides of Hislop

Novelist Victoria Hislop seems mild-mannered, but being married to Private Eye editor Ian must have rubbed off a little. She tells me she spent some time wanting "to string up" a well-known female journalist, who wrote a bad review of her novel. She won't tell me who it is, and exhaustive archive searches only throw up glowing reviews of her two novels, The Island and The Return. However, she tells me she learned more from that review than any other, and has just handed in the manuscript for her third, The Thread. She celebrated by reading Beryl Bainbridge. "I read Master Georgie," she says. "It was delicious. Like eating a tub of Ben & Jerry's."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Guru Careers: Lead Systems Developer / Software Developer

COMPETITIVE + Excellent Benefits: Guru Careers: A Lead Systems Developer / Sof...

Recruitment Genius: Social Media & Engagement Manager - French or German Speaker

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: The world's leading financial services careers...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Marketing Executive - 6 Months Contract

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Digital Marketing Executive...

Guru Careers: Account Manager / Senior Account Manager

40-45K DOE + Benefits: Guru Careers: An Account Manager / Senior Account Manag...

Day In a Page

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future