Experience: A Memoir by Martin Amis 

Introduced by Pedro Salinas  

Reporting on the recent, inaugural Hay Festival Arequipa, my fellow Peruvian journalist, Renato Cisneres, said each event was a mini Hay Festival itself, composed of the most enjoyable moments.

One event where this was most certainly true, was Martin Amis in conversation with Peter Florence, Director of Hay Festival, on the craft of writing. 


Martin Amis, talking about Experience, his memoir and one of his major works, said ‘to write a memoir is to take the reader on an honest journey, one without artifice … writing comes from a silent anxiety’.

Acknowledging Saul Bellow and Vladimir Nabokov as his main literary influences, he said: You can teach genius. Every writer has at least a bit of genius. That can be seen in varying degrees in their novels. But it is possible to teach the techniques, and also some routines. If you want to be a good writer, you have to be a good reader. Reading is your destination and your food.’ 


I don’t know about others, but I agree with Renato – Amis talking about his experience was like a mini Hay Festival.

Gracias, Hay Arequipa!


This post was adapted from a review of Hay Festival Arequipa by Pablo Salinas, that can be read in full (in Spanish) here.

Martin Amis was born in Swansea, Wales but lived for several years in Punta del Este, Uruguay.

One thought on “Experience

  1. I find Amis ‘creepy” (for want of a worse word) and can’t abide what Peter Florence (and his cronies) have done / are doing to Hay (with their Barclays tents and Groucho clubs, and all the other depressing festivities). I have no inclination whatsoever to read this book.
    On the other hand, I have to say that Money: A Suicide Note [1984] is an absolute hoot; a comic masterpiece. I’m just (insanely) jealous I could never write anything half as good, or even a quarter.
    Of course, Amis is totally mistaken about “genius” (or even talent) neither of which can be taught, or reduced to any kind of technique. No “routines’ of any sort are ever inspirational


Leave a Reply to 4bibliomania Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s