Will Self

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William Woodard "Will" Self (born 26 September 1961) is an English novelist, reviewer and columnist. He is known for his satirical, grotesque and fantastical novels and short stories.


Early life

Self was raised, in his words, in "an effortlessly dull" North London suburb (Hampstead Garden Suburb) by "intellectually snobbish parents". Self's father, Peter Self, was both a Professor of Public Administration at the London School of Economics and Professor of Urban Research at the Australian National University, and his mother was a Jewish-American émigré. Despite the intellectual encouragement given by his parents, Self was an emotionally confused and self-destructive child, harming himself with cigarette ends and knives before getting into drugs in his teenage years.[1]


As mentioned on an episode of Have I Got News For You, Self attended University College School, an independent school for boys in Hampstead in North London, with Hugh Dennis where they played rugby together. He later attended Christ's College, Finchley, followed by Exeter College at Oxford, where he read philosophy.

His reasons for not studying English literature were discussed by Self in an interview with The Guardian newspaper:

"I [had] a pretty thorough grounding in the canon, but I certainly didn't want to be involved with criticism. Even then it seemed inimical to what it was to be a writer, which is what I really wanted to be."[2]

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