Frustrated novelist James Walker is setting off for the heartland of America to reinvigorate himself after years spent living a drab life in a drab English city. The institution for which he is destined, Benedict Arnold University – ‘Take a BA at BA’ – is still in the grip of McCarthyism, but Walker soon discovers that certain members of BA’s academic staff insist that he throws himself right into the swing of things . . .
Characterized by Bradbury’s trademark satirical wit, Stepping Westward expertly explores the push-pull relationship of ’60s modernism and ’50s reservation.
Malcolm Bradbury was a well-known novelist, critic and academic. He co-founded the famous creative writing department at the University of East Anglia, whose students have included Ian McEwan and Kazuo Ishiguro. His novels are Eating People is Wrong (1959); Stepping Westward (1965); The History Man (1975), which won the Royal Society of Literature Heinemann Prize; Rates of Exchange (1983), which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize; Cuts (1987); Doctor Criminale (1992); and To the Hermitage (2000). He wrote several works of non-fiction, humour and satire, including Who Do You Think You Are? (1976), All Dressed Up and Nowhere to Go (1982) and Why Come to Slaka? (1991). He was an active journalist and a leading television writer, responsible for the adaptations of Porterhouse Blue, Cold Comfort Farm and many TV plays and episodes of Inspector Morse, A Touch of Frost, Kavanagh QC and Dalziel and Pascoe. He was awarded a knighthood in 2000 for services to literature and died later the same year.
Malcolm Bradbury discusses Stepping Westward
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