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.
“In 1994, I worked as Will Self’s amanuensis for six months in a remote Suffolk cottage. The experience changed me utterly. Self & I is a memoir about the urgent desire to be a writer, part-Withnail And I, part-Love, Nina, set in literature’s last hours before the age of the internet.”
Matthew De Abaitua
“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