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Martin Amis

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Martin Louis Amis is an English writer who was born on 25th August 1949 in Swansea, South Wales. He received his early education from ‘Bishop Gore School’ and ‘Cambridgeshire High School for Boys’. His father, Kingsley Amis authored a novel ‘Lucky Jim’ that was highly acclaimed by the public and the critics. Consequently the family moved to Princeton, New Jersey. As a child Martin Amis was a huge comic book fan until his stepmother who was also a novelist urged him to read ‘Jane Austin’. Amis describes Austin’s work to be his early influence. He also went to ‘Westminster School’ for a while and finally graduated from ‘Exeter College’, Oxford majoring in English with a ‘Congratulatory First’.

After graduating, he landed a job at ‘The Times Literary Supplement’ and by 1976 he was the editor of the ‘New Statesman’. Though a writer at heart his father did not appreciate Amis ‘wasting’ his time on writing. However the young Amis did not see this as an impediment in his career. His first novel was called ‘The Rachael Papers’ published in 1973 which was given the ‘Somerset Maugham Award’. His second novel was ‘Dead Babies’ (1975) was about a group of friends who take the fortification of a country house to take illegal drugs. This story was adapted into a film in 2000. 1977 saw another novel named ‘Success’; a story of two adopted brothers, Gregory Riding and Terry Service and how they cope with success and downfall of fortunes in their life. This novel marked the beginning of Martin Amis’s specific style of using two characters involved in a situation together as a pair.

Amis’s career skyrocketed with his novels ‘Money’, ‘London Fields’ and ‘The Information’. ‘Money’ with a catchy tag line ‘A suicide Note’, came out in 1984. This novel received immense appreciation including its name in the ‘100 best English Language novels of 1923 to 2005. The second of these three, which are also referred to as his ‘London Trilogy’, is ‘London Fields’ (1989) which examines the lives of three people as they face a climatic catastrophe. Amis’s 1995 offering was ‘The Information’ caught the public’s eye mostly due to the controversies surrounding its publication. He had left his long-serving publishing agent for a fresh Harvard graduate, sparking an unresolved dispute between him and Pat Kavanagh. This action also cost him his long-time friendship with Julian Barnes who happened to be Kavanagh’s husband. His novel ‘Time’s Arrow’ which is an autobiography of a doctor belonging to the Nazi concentration camp was nominated for the ‘Man Booker Prize’ in 1991.

The 2000’s saw comparatively little work by Martin Amis. His memoir named ‘Experience’ was published in 2000. Two years later another novel ‘Koba the Dead’ came out followed by ‘Yellow Dog’ in 2003. In next couple of years he wrote ‘Vintage Amis’ (2004), ‘The House of Meetings’ (2006), ‘The Second Plane’ (2008) and ‘The Pregnant Widow’ (2010). Apart from a productive career in writing Amis also taught Creative Writing at the University of Manchester as a Professor from 2007 to 2011.

Some other work by Amis includes ‘Einstein’s Monsters’ (1987), ‘Two Stories’ (1994), ‘Heavy Water and other Stories’ (1998) and ‘The Fiction of Martin Amis’ (2000). Currently Amis lives in Britain with his wife and children. He has received many awards for his literary accomplishments including the ‘National Book Award’ for Outstanding Achievement (2010).

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