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Martin Amis

Martin Amis

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Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Although his father, Kingsley Amis, was a literary celebrity in his own right, Martin Amis has long since established himself as a force to rival his father's in British fiction. Beginning with his first novel, The Rachel Papers (1973), winner of the Somerset Maugham Award, the younger Amis has followed in his father's footsteps, producing commercially and critically successful, if sometimes controversial, fiction. Several of his novels have been turned into films or TV shows including "The Rachel Papers" (1989) and "Money" (2010), thus lending further credence to his status as one of the most widely respected authors of contemporary British literature. Born in Swansea, South Wales, Amis did not show signs of a literary bent early on. In fact, he credits his stepmother, writer Elizabeth Jane Howard, for sparking his interest in literature beyond comic books. As a teenager, he appeared in his firs and only acting role in "A High Wind in Jamaica" (1965). After graduating from Oxford, he began working at the Times Literary Supplement as well as on his first novel, The Rachel Papers. The novel was an instant success, and Amis subsequently penned two more novels before being hired to write the...

Although his father, Kingsley Amis, was a literary celebrity in his own right, Martin Amis has long since established himself as a force to rival his father's in British fiction. Beginning with his first novel, The Rachel Papers (1973), winner of the Somerset Maugham Award, the younger Amis has followed in his father's footsteps, producing commercially and critically successful, if sometimes controversial, fiction. Several of his novels have been turned into films or TV shows including "The Rachel Papers" (1989) and "Money" (2010), thus lending further credence to his status as one of the most widely respected authors of contemporary British literature.

Born in Swansea, South Wales, Amis did not show signs of a literary bent early on. In fact, he credits his stepmother, writer Elizabeth Jane Howard, for sparking his interest in literature beyond comic books. As a teenager, he appeared in his firs and only acting role in "A High Wind in Jamaica" (1965). After graduating from Oxford, he began working at the Times Literary Supplement as well as on his first novel, The Rachel Papers. The novel was an instant success, and Amis subsequently penned two more novels before being hired to write the screenplay for the science fiction film "Saturn 3" (1980).

The production was troubled throughout, and the film was a failure, nominated for multiple Golden Raspberry Awards. Amis went on to mine the unpleasant experience in his fifth book, and the first of the so-called London Trilogy, the comic novel Money (1984). That same year, Amis married his first wife, Antonia Phillips, with whom he had two sons. The next novel in the trilogy, London Fields (1989), incited controversy when two female Booker judges lobbied strongly against its inclusion on the shortlist due to its treatment of women.

In 1989, a film version of "The Rachel Papers" was released with poor box office receipts. Its failure would herald a difficult decade for Amis in which he underwent a divorce, lost his father and destroyed a close friendship due to a professional decision that haunted him for years. Amis abandoned his longtime literary agent, Pat Kavanagh, who was married to his close friend Julian Barnes and moved to representation by Andrew Wylie, an agent notorious for poaching authors from his colleagues. In conjunction with the move, Amis reportedly demanded an advance of half a million pounds for his 1995 novel The Information. Years later, Amis said of the debacle that he had been in error, and that he regretted not taking the original advance of £300,000. He and Barnes eventually patched up their difficulties, but it took a decade for them to be on friendly terms once again.

The 1990s were far from a complete debacle for the author, however. He met and married his second wife, author Isabel Fonseca, and they had two daughters. He was also reunited with a third daughter, Delilah, born of a relationship in the 1970s. Amis wrote about Delilah coming back into his life and the murder of his cousin by the notorious serial killers Fred and Rosemary West in his 2000 memoir, Experience. That same year, Amis endured yet another poor adaptation of his work when "Dead Babies" (2000), based on his novel of the same name, was released to poor critical and audience response.

Amis found himself embroiled in controversy that distracted from his literary accomplishments yet again when, following the September 11th attacks, he famously opined that Muslims needed to get their house in order. Despite his assertions that he had been quoted out of context, the damage was done, and years later he expressed regret for the remark. Canny observers of the literary scene might have taken his initial outburst as a suggestion that he would follow in the footsteps of his father who became increasingly conservative later in life, but in 2008 Amis voiced his support for Barack Obama's presidency. He also became embroiled in a war of words with his longtime friend Christopher Hitchens over the murderous legacy of Lenin and Stalin after Amis penned a nonfiction book, Koba the Dread: Laughter and the Twenty Million (2002), attacking the deaths for which communism and those two leaders in particular were responsible. However, the feud between the two literary heavyweights did not seem to extend to their personal relationship.

All the same, following the lukewarm reception to his next novel, Yellow Dog (2003), Amis seemed to have grown weary of literary life in London and moved with his family to Uruguay, the birthplace and childhood home of his wife's father. Returning to the United Kingdom after two and a half years, he began teaching writing at Manchester University. Then in 2010 the BBC adapted "Money" (BBC Two, 2010) for a two-part series starring Nick Frost. However, while Amis pronounced himself pleased with the adaptation, critics disagreed, including those who claimed to have been fans of the novel. Amis left his teaching post in 2011 and moved with his family to Brooklyn, New York. In 2012 his thirteenth novel Lionel Asbo: State of England was released to mixed reviews.

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Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 London Fields (2018)
2.
 A High Wind in Jamaica (1965) John Thornton
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Milestones close milestones

1965:
Role in "A High Wind in Jamaica"
1973:
Published his first novel, <i>The Rachel Papers</i>
1980:
Wrote the screenplay for "Saturn 3"
1989:
"The Rachel Papers" is released in theaters
2000:
"Dead Babies" is released
2000:
BBC adaptation of "Money"
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Education

Exeter College, Oxford University: -

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