After being teased by Nick Harkaway, one of le Carré’s sons, during book events surrounding the release of Silverview we now have additional details on a book of John le Carré/David Cornwell correspondence. The book, currently titled A Private Spy: The Letters of John le Carré, 1945-2020, has a UK release date of November 3rd, 2022 and a healthy page count of 400, although the US page lists a release date of October 11th, 2022 and 144 pages. So there is some conflicting information that will hopefully be cleared up soon.
Interestingly, the description on the US Penguin page lists Tim Cornwell as the editor on the project. Tim is the son of David Cornwell and a journalist who writes on the arts in Scotland.
Here’s the description from the UK Penguin website –
A collection of letters from John le Carré, one of the greatest British novelists of our time, and a fabulous letter writer, spanning decades from his childhood to the Cold War to his final years.
John le Carré was one of the greatest novelists of his generation but also had an extraordinary life, from his childhood with a con man father to his inimitable career as a writer. From his involvement in the Cold War, time in Berlin, travels to Vietnam and engagement with world leaders, his experiences were truly remarkable.
This collection of letters reveals John le Carré – the man, the writer and his world – for the first time and most intimately. Including letters to Stephen Fry and about Mrs Thatcher, and correspondence with Alec Guinness and a ten-year-old aspiring spy, Selected Letters come together with crispness and clarity to illuminate the extraordinary writer. A magnificent and tender portrait for John le Carré’s many millions of fans around the world.
From the description is sounds like just what you would hope for with this type of collection. Having read some of le Carré’s letter’s to the editor, I hope they don’t leave out letters highlighting his occasional prickliness. This is a wonderful opportunity for us to see him not just as a writer we admire but human with all our virtues and faults.
The book is already available on all the usual suspects for preorder. I’ll be updating as we get the final book covers or additional information is revealed.