Lynn Barber, by her own admission, has always suffered from a compelling sense of nosiness. An exceptionally inquisitive child she constantly questioned everyone she knew about imitate details of their lives. This talent for nosiness, coupled with her unusual lack of the very English fear of social embarrassment, turned out to be the perfect qualification for a celebrity interviewer.
In A Curious Career, Lynn Barber takes us from her early years as a journalist at Penthouse - where she started out interviewing foot fetishists, voyeurs, dominatrices and men who liked wearing nappies - to her later more eminent role interrogating a huge cross-section of celebrities ranging from politicians to film stars, comedians, writers, artists and musicians. A Curious Career is full of glorious anecdotes - the interview with Salvador Dali that, at Dali's invitation, ended up lasting four days, or the drinking session with Shane MacGowan during which they planned to rob a bank. It also contains eye-opening transcripts, such as her infamous interview with the hilarious and spectacularly rude Marianne Faithfull.
A wonderfully frank and funny memoir by Britain's greatest and most ferocious interviewer, A Curious Career is also a fascinating window into the lives of celebrities and the changing world of journalism.
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Lynn Barber is an award-winning British journalist. Several collections of her interviews have been anthologised. She read English Literature at Oxford, worked for Penthouse magazine for seven years, then for the Sunday Express, Independent on Sunday, Vanity Fair, Observer and Sunday Times. Her books include two collections of interviews, Mostly Men and Demon Barber, as well as two sex manuals and a study of Victorian naturalists. Her memoir, An Education, was made into an award-winning film starring Carey Mulligan and Rosamund Pike. She lives in north London.
“Barber's recollections of her time as a celebrity interviewer follow the success of An Education, her memoir of her early life. It should be a delight, dripping with gems about her encounters with everyone from Rudolf Nureyev to Lady Gaga.” ―Sunday Times
“Packed full of incredible stories.” ―Glamour
“The book of the career of the ferocious interviewer: what happens, she says, when a nosy child grows up to find her perfect job.” ―Katy Guest, Independent on Sunday
“Barber's elegant prose radiates love.” ―Jane Shilling, Daily Telegraph
“Lots of fun . . . very moving.” ―Evening Standard
“Funny, bold, incisive, clever and interesting.” ―Independent
“Candid, unsentimental and extremely funny. I read it in one glorious go, laughing and crying throughout.” ―Zoe Heller
“The queen bee of the celebrity interview.” ―Daily Mail
“For a guide [to journalism], there could be no better place to start than with Lynn Barber's second volume of autobiography, A Curious Career.” ―Olivia Cole, GQ
“Funny, thoughtful and beautifully written.” ―Glamour
“Barber's back with a candid and extremely entertaining account of her early career as a celebrity interviewer that's packed with anecdotes illuminating both her own and her interviewees' lives . . . I read this in a sitting, unable to stop smiling.” ―Women & Home
“A riot of a read--funny, irreverent, artlessly frank.” ―Decca Aitkenhead, Guardian
“Barber turned the interview into an art form . . . Like all the best conjurors, she relies on speed, practice, psychological insight, a powerful imagination and phenomenally acute observation. For nearly half a century she has held up a mirror in which her contemporaries see themselves reflected with a precision and panache most novelists would envy--and most biographers too.” ―Hilary Spurling, Guardian
“A terrific read . . . Lynn Barber can take an over-interviewed, not-terribly-interesting celebrity and write 5,000 words about them that are so clever, bold and funny you want to read to the very end.” ―Financial Times
“For fans of Lynn Barber, A Curious Career will delight and entertain. For anyone contemplating a career in celebrity journalist, it's absolutely indispensible. *****” ―Mail on Sunday
“Barber brilliantly nails the ghastly black-comedy irrationality of grief and the quietly heroic business of keeping-on keeping-in while everything simultaneously stops making sense . . . Barber's wince-making eloquence on the pain of fresh widowhood lingered long after I finished A Curious Career. And then at the end I felt terribly disappointed; even having read it as slowly as I dared, at 211 pages it was all over far too quickly . . . both on the page and in real life, Lynn Barber invariably leaves you wanting more.” ―Sunday Times
“Incredibly satisfying and enjoyable: witty, mischievous, insightful, and, one occasion, elegiac . . . A veritable masterclass in how it's done.” ―Rachel Cooke, Observer
“She cuts, sparkles, is sometimes generous, never daunted, always full of verve . . . Readers will love this pacy, absorbing book.” ―Independent
“A hugely enjoyable read--the gold standard of professional prying.” ―Evening Standard
“[A] terrific new memoir . . . Ms. Barber is top-flight company.” ―New York Times
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