Julian Rathbone – farewell to red shoes

I was saddened to hear that Julian Rathbone has passed away. I’ll never forget some words from his keynote speech at the Winchester Writers’ Conference in 1998 – writers need to be vain. I used words to that effect in one of my stories because they just wouldn’t go away. What he meant was, I think, was that we had to be vain in the sense of being proud of our craft and getting our work out there. During the Conference, he would hang out with his students, encouraging them to have a go at the open mic sessions, sitting with them at mealtimes. A recent article in The Guardian mentions many of his books, but my favourites are Intimacy and Blame Hitler. He was a very generous man and good fun, too; I’ll never forget his red shoes.