Clive James Birthday

Literary Birthday – 7 October – Clive James

Clive James was born 7 October 1939 and died 24 November 2019.


  1. People don’t get their morality from their reading matter: they bring their morality to it.
  2. It often happens that we are most touched by what we are least capable of. Evanescent delicacy is not the quality in the arts that I admire most, but it is often the characteristic by which I am most reduced to envy.
  3. All I can do is turn a phrase until it catches the light.
  4. A painter can leave you with nothing left to say. A writer leaves you with everything to say.
  5. The sure sign of a weak man who ascends to glory is that he can’t tolerate having strong men around him.

Clive James was an Australian author. As well as essays, he published collections of literary and television criticism, travel writing, verse and novels, plus five volumes of autobiography, Unreliable Memoirs, Falling Towards England, and The Blaze of Obscurity. In 2012 he was appointed CBE and in 2013 an Officer of the Order of Australia. His most recent poetry collection, Angels Over Elsinore, was shortlisted for the 2009 Costa Prize for Poetry.

Photograph / Quotes

 by Amanda Patterson

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