Obituary: Terence de Vere White

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The Independent Online
MAY I add to the obituary of Terence de Vere White (by Maeve Binchy, 18 June) by drawing attention to his immense kindness and generosity to younger writers? writes Ian Blake.

At Trinity College Dublin in the early Sixties we heard with excitement (and trepidation) that the Literary Editor of the Irish Times was to review the forthcoming edition of Icarus, the termly magazine of poetry, short stories and literary criticism. Constructive, perceptive, encouraging, White's criticism commended to readers all contributions except 'Paradise Zero One' - my own story; its setting in the future he considered was redolent of Orwellian pessimism. However, far worse in his eyes was its taint of science fiction which, as his elegant prose made chasteningly clear, scarcely merited inclusion in any literary magazine which sought to be taken

seriously.

About a month later, out of the blue, a parcel arrived at Front Gate. Inside was a note from White, whom I had never met: 'Would you like to review science fiction for the literary page of the Irish Times?' From then until graduation, books arrived every term: prompt publication of the review was followed quickly by a most welcome cheque.

Subsequently, between 1967 and 1974, as Archaeological Correspondent for the Irish Times, I would often become aware of Terence's dapper but indefinably Bohemian presence at my elbow, diffidently offering a literary volume for review and a softly spoken amiably humorous enquiry as to how life was treating me.

Because, I suppose, I always expected to bump into him again I never adequately thanked him for his typically sensitive kindness; I am sure I am not alone in the nature of my indebtedness.

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