Kingsley Amis (b. April 16): “If you can’t annoy somebody, there’s little point in writing.”

16 Apr

(c) Gordon Stuart; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

Kingsley Amis (born 16 April 1922, died 22 October 1995) was an English novelist, poet, critic, and teacher. He wrote more than 20 novels, six volumes of poetry, a memoir, various short stories, radio and television scripts, and social and literary criticism. He was the father of English novelist Martin Amis.


  1. If you can’t annoy somebody, there’s little point in writing.
  2. No wonder people are so horrible when they start life as children.
  3. The novelist always has favorites, and often he’s a minor character.
  4. Laziness has become the chief characteristic of journalism, displacing incompetence.
  5. It is natural and harmless in English to use a preposition to end a sentence with.
  6. Writing for me is to a large extent self-entertainment, and an only child is driven to do that.
  7. No writer, especially a young and unknown writer, resents publicity of any kind – whatever he may say.
  8. You can’t imagine how much I miss the intellectual stimulus of teaching English literature to young people. More than I ever realized – I do miss it.
  9. I don’t get up very early. I linger over breakfast reading the papers, telling myself hypocritically that I’ve got to keep up with what’s going on, but really staving off the dreadful time when I have to go to the typewriter. Then I go on until about eight-thirty PM and I always hate stopping.
  10. I’ve been trying to write for as long as I can remember. But those first 15 years didn’t produce much of great interest. I mean, it embarrasses me very much to look back on my early poems – very few lines of any merit at all and lots of affectation. But there were quite a lot of them. That’s a point in one’s favor.

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