Published: Eye Books (March 2018)
A memoir of literary ambition
The scene is a remote cottage in Suffolk in the 1990s.
Will Self, newly divorced, is the in-demand enfant terrible of the British literary scene. Matthew De Abaitua, an eager young writer fresh out of Malcolm Bradbury's Creative Writing course at the University of East Anglia, is excited to be hired as his ‘amanuensis'.
It's not obvious what that intriguing job title will entail. In this unique, frank and often very funny portrait of one of our most talked-about and controversial literary figures, Self & I charts the highs and lows of the experience.
It is a compelling account of a remarkable time in Britain and British literature.
OUT MARCH 2018, AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER NOW
“Very funny but with an undertow of melancholy, Self & I is at root a hymn to the vocation of writing and, as such, sings to all us nearly-writers, wannabe-writers and sometime-writers (i.e. all writers) with the ecstasy of scripture.”
Will Ashon, author of Strange Labyrinth
“This is such an important book in so many ways. Not only does it give us a glimpse behind the scenes at the early career of one of our true literary stars, but it also marks the end of an era in the publishing world. The net book agreement had just started to collapse, the internet had yet to take hold, and old school methods of publishing and retailing were still the norm. Everything changed, and not all for the better, shortly after the events of this book. It also happens to be a wonderful, funny and thought-provoking memoir.”
Scott Pack, editor-at-large, Eye Books
“If you love Withnail & I, you must read this hilarious and unexpectedly affectionate account of the period the author spent working as Will Self’s amanuensis in a cottage in Suffolk in the mid-90s, a job which required ‘a relentless willingness to participate in the unusual’. Self was then newly divorced and the in-demand enfant terrible, but really the book is about De Abaitua, a thrusting young writer fresh out of the UEA Creative Writing MA, and keen to learn from one of his literary heroes, as he tries and fails to write a novel.”