John Le Carré In His Own Words

John Le Carré In His Own Words


John le Carré was a bestselling author whose books include The Spy Who Came in from the Cold and Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.

On this recording we hear - in his own words - about being brought up by his grandparents and feeling deserted by his mother and father. He talks about being creative as a means of escapism, by telling stories about his absent parents; as well as hating public school where he suffered severe beatings. We also hear about when he worked in the army as an interrogator and his experience working in British intelligence. He discusses becoming a writer, creating Smiley, working with Alec Guinness and why he hid behind two names. In addition, we learn about what he thought of awards - and critics.

Due to the age and nature of this archive material, the sound quality may vary.

©2022 BBC Studios Distribution Ltd (P)2022 BBC Studios Distribution Ltd

About the author

John le Carré

John le Carré was born in 1931. For six decades, he wrote novels that came to define our age. The son of a confidence trickster, he spent his childhood between boarding school and the London underworld. At sixteen he found refuge at the University of Bern, then later at Oxford. A spell of teaching at Eton led him to a short career in British Intelligence (MI5 & 6). He published his debut novel, Call for the Dead, in 1961 while still a secret servant. His third novel, The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, secured him a worldwide reputation, which was consolidated by the acclaim for his trilogy, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, The Honourable Schoolboy and Smiley's People. At the end of the Cold War, le Carré widened his scope to explore an international landscape including the arms trade and the War on Terror. His memoir, The Pigeon Tunnel, was published in 2016 and the last George Smiley novel, A Legacy of Spies, appeared in 2017. He died on 12 December 2020. His posthumous novel, Silverview, was published in 2021.
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