Sunday, January 31, 2010


LEON WING talks to British novelist TOBY LITT about how he adopts a different literary genre and style for every new novel and on what he looks for in good writing

TOBY LITT is one of Britain’s most exciting writers today and the author of 10 novels, including Adventures in Capitalism, Beatniks, Corpsing, deadkidsongs, Exhibitionism, Finding Myself, Ghost Story, Hospital, I Play the Drums in a Band Called Okay and Journey into Space. His latest novel, King Death, is due out in April 2010. Accolades from the British press abound: The Sunday Mirror calls him “one of the most inventive and original writers around” while The Guardian hails him as “one of the most prolific of the newer generation of British novelists.” Granta, the influential literary magazine, named him one of 20 Best Young British Novelists of 2003. In October 2009, The Manchester Writing School at the Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) awarded Litt the 2009 Manchester Fiction Prize for his body of work.

When The British Council in Kuala Lumpur held a real-time video conference in 2005, readers in Malaysia got as close as was possible to actually meeting Litt in person. They had the rare opportunity to ask him questions about his writing, and listen to him read from his then just-published novel, Ghost Story. Four years now, LEON WING, one of those people in the audience then, catches up with Litt.

Along with Ghost Story, I think Hospital is one of your most innovative novels to date. I call it a graphic novel for people who want to enjoy a graphic novel without the pictures. As one of those people, I especially enjoy the variety of genres you instil into your novels. A nurse falling for a doctor—so very Mills & Boon. All the violence and sex—so very Manga. And, of course, there’s the Rubber Nurse. What is your take on writing mere straightforward fiction and experimental fiction?
Thank you for your close reading of my books. I think ‘a graphic novel without the pictures’ is very much what I was trying to do, although I didn’t think of it that way at the time of writing it. I did, however, fantasise that it might be adapted into anime by Studio Ghibli (the producer of Spirited Away and Howl’s Moving Castle). This is because, as you’re hinting, the characters don’t all exist on the same level of reality. Although they may come from different genres, they have to find some way of collaborating with one another. So, a Mills & Boon nurse ends up in a slasher-movie scenario with a fairy-tale boy, etc.

With Ghost Story, you wrote an immensely long one sentence for an entire chapter; and on ending the novel, you placed the final punctuation onto an entirely new page. I wonder if anybody else besides me caught all these? Tell me how you came about doing these.
A writer can rarely be certain that any reader will ever notice this or that detail. The only confirmation comes at moments like this. All the writer can hope to do is create something which will bear repeated rereading. Ghost Story is a very deliberate book. It contains lots of textual details, some of which are almost imperceptible. However, at a glance it doesn’t appear in any way metafictional. There are no footnotes, no diagrams. As to where these things came from, they came from trying to write the most ghostly book I could, and from my reading of other ghostly books.

You are always surprising your readers by not repeating the style or genre of the last novel you wrote. Some of the genres you have attempted include (Bildungsroman (deadkidsongs), thriller (Corpsing), chick-lit (Finding Myself), manga/graphic novel (Hospital), and, of course, your most recent, science fiction (Journey into Space). I understand that you are already working on a novel with a title beginning with the next alphabet: K. What genre or style are you going to take on this time round?
King Death is a novel narrated by two characters, Kumiko, a Japanese artist, and Skelton, an English improvisation musician. It’s a sort of crime novel, but whereas Corpsing was, as you say, a thriller—a revenge thriller—King Death is more about an investigation. It’s also a romance.

Quite a number of your works get adapted into films. The BBC, for one, adapted Rare Books & Manuscripts into a little filmic snippet. Some years back, a story from Exhibitionism was made into a film. And now, King Death, which you’re still writing, I presume, is now optioned by CMP Film. Could you tell us more about this?
The novel version of King Death is finished; I only have to correct the proofs. As for the film script, it’s now into a second draft. I have been working with the film director Gerald McMorrow, whose first film was the fantasy drama, Franklyn. Even though I thought King Death was extremely filmic as I was writing it, I am realising more and more how differently books and screenplays work. The on-screen world has a different physics.

Is Journey into Space going to be made into a movie? I wonder who is going to play Orphan? Though Orphan is retarded, the others in the ship look up to him as a leader. Am I being too far-fetched to opine that there’s a little bit of George Bush in Orphan?
Journey into Space has been optioned by Glasgow-based Sigma Films, to be written and directed by David Mackenzie, the Scottish film director. He’s made some great stuff in the past, including Young Adam and Hallam Foe, so I’m optimistic. He’s very into science fiction. As for George Bush, I was told by some early readers that this was their interpretation of Orphan. This was their way of reading a character whose political platform, if you can call it that, is happiness, is being happy. I’m not sure if I’d see this as Bush’s defining characteristic. He was more blithe than happy, though the two are easily mistaken.

Still on the note of Journey into Space, what is your take on the future of books, particularly on eBooks and eBook readers?
I think that eBooks will take over from paper pulp books as the main technology for distributing long texts, texts such as novels. There will still be books printed, but I think they’re more likely to be desirable limited editions. Although I love books in their physical form, I would be glad not to be personally responsible for deforestation. The real issues arise around publishing. How are books going to make their way to readers? I could email you the manuscript of King Death right now, but would it be satisfying for you to read it that way? Probably not. But if you gave me the right program, I could put it into a very finished form, then send it straight to your Kindle. The publisher, at this point, becomes a mix of editor (guaranteeing textual quality) and publicist (trying to make sure that you are excited about my book rather than someone else’s).

Your story, ‘The Fish,’ was shortlisted for the Bridport Prize in 2007. Though not a graphic novel, Hospital actually won an illustration award for its cover. And I Play the Drums for a Band Called OK is currently shortlisted for the 2009 British Book Design and Production Awards. Penguin UK won Best in Show Award at SXSW, and you have a fictional blog, Slice, in it. And finally, a couple of years back you got into the Granta hall of fame as one of the Best of Young British Novelists of 2003. If you have your wish, what awards would you covet and for which of your novels, and why?
It is very hard not to covet awards. They are one of the ways in which readers decide which books they are going to spend their time reading. And I would like to have as many readers as possible. Because of this—because they bring readers—I covet awards. However, I try not to covet awards for themselves. To think too much about things like this, rather than the writing itself, eventually becomes corrupting.

As a writer who is able to write in any style or genre, you were just the right person picked to edit New Writing 13. I believe that in the year Hospital came out you offered to read some writings by university students. Of the two pieces you picked as the most promising, one was unusual and certainly innovative: a story written entirely in text messaging. As for picking them as winners and as for selecting the pieces for New Writing 13, what do you look for in the writings?
Formal invention—like humour—is always going to be attractive to an editor reading a great number of manuscripts by unpublished writers. If a writer sets him- or herself the task of writing in an unusual form, and pulls it off with style, then he or she is doing something more daring than merely creating a believable set of characters whose actions and interactions are emotionally resonant. I like high-wire acts, magicians, illusionists. But I’d argue that, say, Raymond Carver, as edited by Gordon Lish, was another kind of high-wire act.

Are you still a member of the New Puritans? Tell us more about the kind of writing its members strive for?
No. The New Puritans anthology was a one-off, just as the Dogme 95 movement in Danish film only required directors to sign up for a single film. The general idea of the New Puritanism was that many of the older generation (Martin Amis, Salman Rushdie) were writing in a way that was self-satisfied. Literariness was, for them, an established, unquestioned value. They didn’t think they could learn from genre writing. Their writing was ponderous, unpleasurable. This, I’d say, was the view of the editors, Matt Thorne and Nicholas Blincoe. I was asked to be in the anthology just after Corpsing came out. Since then, I’ve become more sympathetic to the older generation. I think they are more ambitious than the New Puritan writers were, certainly within that anthology.

What is the most recent book you’ve read? Are there any books you would like to recommend? Who, in your opinion, are the most interesting, innovative or creative writers we should be looking forward to reading more of now?
I’ve just finished Ian Carr’s biography of Miles Davis: Miles Davis: The Definitive Biography. I’d recommend Junot Díaz’s The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. He is an admirable writer, but you could read everything he has published in a day. (Quite a long day.) I have been reading the late David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest. I think he was trying to do something extremely difficult, but totally worth doing. He was absolutely not dumbing down. I think that, even if it turns out to be a great disappointment, his final novel, The Pale King, will be essential reading.

LEON WING cannot take apart a car or bike, but he enjoys doing it to a poem and putting it back together in Other times, he edits for and blogs about books in

Reproduced from the January-March 2010 issue of Quill magazine

Saturday, January 30, 2010

J.D. SALINGER 1919-2010

REMEMBER the following opening line from a famous first novel?

“If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you’ll probably want to know is where I was born and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don’t feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth.”

Of course, that is from J.D. Salinger’s classic novel of adolescent angst and discontent, The Catcher in the Rye, which was first published in 1951. Salinger’ most famous work has sold over 65 million copies worldwide since its publication in 1951.

The legendary, reclusive creator of Holden Caulfield has died at his home in Cornish, New Hampshire. He was 91.

Salinger is also the author of Nine Stories (published as For Esme: With Love and Squalor in the U.K.) (1953), Franny and Zooey (1961) and Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters and Seymour: An Introduction (1963).

Friday, January 29, 2010

Louis AUCHINCLOSS 1917-2010

LOUIS AUCHINCLOSS, a prolific writer of novels, short stories, criticism and social history chronicling New York’s upper crust, has died on Tuesday, January 26, 2010. The author of over 60 books was 92. His last three novels were Last of the Old Guard (2008), The Headmaster’s Dilemma (2007) and East Side Story (2004). Some of his best-known works include The House of Five Talents (1960), Portrait in Brownstone (1962), The Rector of Justin (1964), The Embezzler (1966) and A World of Profit (1968), among others.

Thursday, January 28, 2010


SINGAPORE: The City of Poets
Award-winning Singaporean poet NG YI-SHENG responds to that eternal question: why is Singapore writing so dominated by poets?

I’M A SINGAPOREAN POET, and I’m proud of it. On the other hand, I’m actually a little amazed at how our English literary scene has become pretty much overrun by poets.

It wasn’t always like this. In the 1980s and early ’90s, loads of people were emerging as novelists and short-story writers. This was an age of classic, popular works, like Catherine Lim’s Or Else, The Lightning God and Other Stories, Adrian Tan’s The Teenage Textbook and Johann S. Lee’s Peculiar Chris.

But somewhere along the way, the ground shifted. Today, poets rule the scene. Scan the shelves of local writing in bookshops and libraries, survey the applicants of National Arts Council Literary Arts grants, check out the Singapore delegations at international writers’ festivals—almost everywhere you look, it’s poets and poets and poets.

How did this happen? Well, the easy answer is that poems take less time to write. Singapore’s a busy country. Most of us have day jobs; those of us still in school often have night tuition. It’s hard to carve out a chunk of time to write the Great Singapore Novel, or even a full-length play. It’s much easier to scribble out a poem on the bus in between stations, or while waiting for our systems to defrag.

Another answer is that communities of poets have developed. The seminal moment for this was the Singapore Literature Prize in 1995, which allowed unpublished poetry manuscripts. The official victor was Roger Jenkins’s From the Belly of the Carp: Singapore River Voices (1996), which has faded into literary obscurity, but the runners-up were a band of 20- and 30-somethings, eager and determined to develop Singapore literature anew.

The Class of ’95, as they call themselves, were Alvin Pang, Aaron Lee, Boey Kim Cheng, Yong Shu Hoong and Heng Siok Tian. They organised readings, lobbied bookshops to stock their works, travelled overseas for literary festivals and put together grand, ambitious anthologies (e.g. No Other City, a collection of urban poetry where names of poets were relegated to the index, so that laureates and neophytes rubbed shoulders to form a polyphonic national epic).

I was lucky enough to be present in those early years: an awkward, closeted schoolboy, chanting my free verse at Chijmes, the old National Library, Borders and the old MPH bookshop. What was really great was that these guys were approachable and inclusive, paying for our dinners at mid-priced Indonesian restaurants while they discussed politics and culture, bringing us along on overnight train rides as part of poetry delegations to Kuala Lumpur. Without their encouragement, I might never have dared to publish my verse.

And today, it’s the same story. The Class of ’95 and the poets who followed them continue to be the crusaders of homegrown lit. There’s Cyril Wong and Toh Hsien Min, who run online literary journals Softblow and Quarterly Literary Review of Singapore respectively. There’s Chris Mooney-Singh, who hosts poetry slams and coaches students in performance poetry. There’s Enoch Ng, a Chinese-language poet, who cranks out award-winning volumes of verse in Mandarin and English from his one-man publishing house, Firstfruits.

Poetry in Singapore is alive and well, not just because of our preference for bite-sized creations, but because poets are working hard to make themselves heard. Thus, we’ve got communities, not only of writers, but also of readers, willing to support us as well as the newer poets who emerge year after year.

But not everything’s hunky-dory. First, the media aren’t that interested in us. Just take a look at the coverage of the Singapore Writers Festival in 2009. Several news sources zoomed in on short-story writers Wena Poon (Lions in Winter, The Proper Care of Foxes) and O Thiam Chin (Never Been Better) as evidence of Singapore’s emergent literary scene. The fact that someone like the poet Felix Cheong was launching his collected works was pretty much ignored—as was the fact that poets have been the driving force behind many aspects of the festival.

Second (and I hate to admit this), people aren’t that interested in us. Yes, we have cult followings, but we’re far from populist. When you actually count the number of copies sold, we look pitiful. An average print run is only 500 copies. I won the Singapore Literature Prize for my collection, last boy, in 2008, yet I’m only in my second print run. Simply put, not that many people are reading our poems.

Third, it’s a troubling truth that this renaissance in poetry isn’t matched by a similar flowering of fiction. More power to Wena Poon and O Thiam Chin, but they’re very lonely figures in their scene. In fact, I can’t think of a single other Singaporean fiction writer who’s emerged and published in the 2000s.

(Go ahead and quibble with me on this. Yes, I know there are self-published novelists like Michele Koh and Poppy Pachinko, and there are forgotten émigrés like the US-based Vyvyane Loh, and there are residents who haven’t taken on citizenship like the Malaysian crime writer Shamini Flint, and there’s a fair number of children’s writers. Yet fundamentally, I stand by my words.)

The world of Singapore fiction today is still pretty much ruled by Catherine Lim and Suchen Christine Lim, authors who sprang up in the 1970s and ’80s. This mightn’t be so bad, if only there weren’t so many fiction writers of yesteryear who’ve fallen mysteriously silent: Philip Jeyaretnam, Claire Tham, Hwee Hwee Tan, Colin Cheong, Dave Chua and Damien Sin. A few, like Gopal Baratham, Rex Shelley, Goh Sin Tub and Goh Poh Seng, have already passed on.

Thus, there’s currently a fiction famine—possibly one worse than what’s happening in Malaysian English literature. You guys have at least the shining expatriate successes of Rani Manicka, Tash Aw, Tan Twan Eng, Tinling Choong, Chiew-Siah Tei, Preeta Samarasan and Shamini Flint to spur you on. Who’re we supposed to emulate?

Yet there’s hope for the future. The literary agency Jacaranda Press is actively seeking out Singapore fiction for a global market. There’s a new grant from the National Arts Council called the Arts Creation Fund, supplying enough cash for people to actually to take a long-term break from their jobs and churn out a humongous tome. November has even been declared a NaNoWriMo: National Novel Writing Month, an exercise wherein participants are committed to churning out 50,000 words of fiction in 30 days.

Not surprisingly, the Class of ’95 has also leapt to the rescue. Poet Alvin Pang has teamed up with The British Council in Singapore to set up a week-long writers’ retreat on the island of Pulau Ubin, with novelist coaches from the UK’s Arvon Foundation to goad us into writing fiction. I attended the retreat myself in October 2009, one of 12 participants gathering in pondoks with laptops and notepaper, five of whom were fellow poets. I’ve borne witness to the workshops, and I can assure that there’s some great prose bundled up in some of us, waiting for a moment to break free.

One guy was actually way ahead of us: this year, Cyril Wong released a collection of beautifully grotesque adult fables, Let Me Tell You What Happened That Night. He’s not exactly in the same community as Wena and Thiam Chin, though, as he remains resolutely a poet.

Given these factors, I’m pretty confident that the harvest of fiction will return. And that’s a great thing for Singapore literature—we need to reach out to audiences who’re already out there through a genre that stands a chance in hell of being mainstream, of being popular.

Till then, dear reader, spare a thought for our poems. They’re the fruit of 15 years of concerted literary passion. They’re the weapons that somehow managed to kill off a burgeoning fiction scene. They’re prizewinning, they’re googleable and they’re available in the better bookshops (and, in some cases, via online order).

Like I said, I’m proud to be a poet. But I’ll be prouder if you read me.

NG YI-SHENG is the author of last boy, a début collection of poems that won the 2008 Singapore Literature Prize

Reproduced from the January-March 2010 issue of Quill magazine

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Return of Poetry to the COSTA

BRITISH POET Christopher Reid’s A Scattering (Areté, 2009) beat Irish novelist Colm Tóibín’s Brooklyn for the 2009 Costa Book of the Year award on Tuesday, January 26, 2010.

The esteemed professor at Hull University won for a collection of poetry about and inspired by the decline and death of his wife, actress Lucinda Gane, in October 2005. Judge Josephine Hart says, “We feel that what Christopher Reid did was to take a personal tragedy and make its emotions universal. It is bizarrely life-enhancing, because it speaks of the triumph of love before and after death. … The fact that it is personal does not in any way detract from its power ... as long as it is kept under artistic control.” A Scattering consists of four poetic sequences, the first written during his wife’s final stage of the illness and the other three at intervals after her death.

The last time a collection of poetry won both the Whitbread Poetry and Book of the Year Awards was in 1999 when Irish poet Seamus Heaney won them for Beowulf (Faber & Faber, 1999). Reid is only the fourth poet to win the Costa Book of the Year Award after Douglas Dunn, Ted Hughes and Seamus Heaney. Heaney won twice for The Spirit Level (Faber & Faber, 1996) and Beowulf. Ted Hughes also won twice for Tales from Ovid in 1997 and Birthday Letters in 1998 while Douglas Dunn won the inaugural prize for Elegies in 1985.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

2009 National Book Critics Circle Award Finalists

NATIONAL BOOK AWARD finalists Bonnie Jo Campbell and Jayne Anne Phillips and Man Booker Prize-winner Hilary Mantel were among the nominees for the 2009 National Book Critics Circle Award, it was announced on January 23, 2010. Other nominees include Michelle Huneven, Marlon James, Mary Karr, Diana Athill, Rae Armantrout, Louise Glück, William T. Vollmann, Edmund White, Blake Bailey, Brad Gooch, Benjamin Moser, Richard Holmes, Wendy Doniger, Tracy Kidder, Morris Dickstein, among others. So many of my favourite books of 2009 are on the shortlists.

1. American Salvage (Wayne State University Press, 2009) / Bonnie Jo Campbell
2. The Book of Night Women (Riverhead, 2009) / Marlon James
3. Blame (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2009) / Michelle Huneven
4. Wolf Hall (Holt, 2009) / Hilary Mantel
5. Lark and Termite (Knopf, 2009) / Jayne Anne Phillips

1. Versed (Wesleyan University Press, 2009) / Rae Armantrout
2. A Village Life (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2009) / Louise Glück
3. Chronic (Graywolf Press, 2009) / D.A. Powell
4. Captive Voices: New and Selected Poems, 1960-2008 (Louisiana State University Press, 2009) / Eleanor Ross Taylor
5. Museum of Accidents (Wave Books, 2009) / Rachel Zucker

1. Cheever: A Life (Knopf, 2009) / Blake Bailey
2. Flannery: A Life of Flannery O’Connor (Little, Brown, 2009) / Brad Gooch
3. Why This World: A Biography of Clarice Lispector (Oxford University Press, 2009) / Benjamin Moser
4. Bitter Spring: A Life of Ignazio Silone (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2009) / Stanislao G. Pugliese
5. Passing Strange: A Gilded Age Tale of Love and Deception Across the Color Line (Penguin Press, 2009) / Martha A. Sandweiss

1. Somewhere Towards the End (Norton, 2009) / Diana Athill
2. Live Through This: A Mother’s Memoir of Runaway Daughters and Reclaimed Love (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009) / Debra Gwartney
3. Lit (Harper, 2009) / Mary Karr
4. Enemies of the People: My Family’s Journey to America (Simon & Schuster, 2009) / Kati Marton
5. City Boy (Bloomsbury, 2009) / Edmund White

1. Notes From No Man’s Land: American Essays (Graywolf Press, 2009) / Eula Biss
2. Close Calls with Nonsense: Reading New Poetry (Graywolf Press, 2009) / Stephen Burt
3. Dancing in the Dark: A Cultural History of the Great Depression (Norton, 2009) / Morris Dickstein
4. Heroes and Villains: Essays on Music, Movies, Comics, and Culture (Da Capo Press, 2009) / David Hadju
5. Perfecting Sound Forever: An Aural History of Recorded Music (Faber, 2009) / Greg Milner

1. The Hindus: An Alternative History (Penguin Press, 2009) / Wendy Doniger
2. Fordlandia: The Rise and Fall of Henry Ford’s Forgotten Jungle City (Metropolitan Books, 2009) / Greg Grandin
3. The Age of Wonder: How the Romantic Generation Discovered the Beauty and Terror of Science (Pantheon, 2009) / Richard Holmes
4. Strength in What Remains: A Journey of Remembrance and Forgiveness (Random House, 2009) / Tracy Kidder
5. Imperial (Viking, 2009) / William T. Vollmann

The winners will be announced on March 11, 2010

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Chang-rae LEE ... The Surrendered (Riverhead, March 9, 2010)

Saturday, January 23, 2010


Writer: I would like you to publish my manuscript!
Editor: Well, it doesn’t work that way; it all depends on whether your manuscript is good enough that we want to publish it?
Writer: So what must I do to get published?
Editor: What’s your book about?
Writer: I can’t tell you that, I’m afraid. From my experience, the moment I tell anybody about my book, they will steal my idea. So, do you want to publish my manuscript or not?
Editor: You will have to email or sent me something before I can make a decision.
Writer: You know, I am one of those people who can’t take rejection. You must decide now!
Editor: You want me to decide on something I have no idea of?
Writer: Yes!
Editor: I can’t do that. Your work may suck big time. I can’t take that chance.
Writer: Can I come see you some time?
Editor: Nope!
Writer: What do you look for in a manuscript?
Editor: We always look for good writing?
Writer: You mean I have to use lots of bombastic words?
Editor: Good writing does not mean using big words. Spare, economical prose can be elegant. And long sentences can be clear, too. There’re many ways of writing good prose.
Writer: I need to launch my book in March 2010. Do you think you can get the book ready by then for the launch? Do you think you can assure me of good window displays at all the leading bookshops in the city? You know, I can get someone to buy 500 copies if you publish it.
Editor: Please, I have yet to see or accept your manuscript. So I can’t exactly schedule its publication and launch. Anyway, publishers, not authors, decide on launches. Furthermore, I have more than enough books to edit on my table. I can’t exactly drop them and do yours. Also, I have no idea why I am engaged in such an inane conversation as the one I’m having now. And why would anyone buy 500 copies of your book? Boil them with carrots and potatoes and make vegetable soup?
Writer: I tell you what. I will think about it and decide whether to allow you to publish it. I may just decide to publish it myself!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Love means never having to say you’re sorry

Erich Segal (June 16, 1937-January 17, 2010)

REMEMBER that popular catch-phrase from the early 1970s? Brooklyn-born ERICH SEGAL, the author who gave us the romantic novel, Love Story (Harper & Row, 1970), which spawned the romantic film classic that starred Ryan O’Neal and Ali MacGraw, has died of a heart attack in London. He was 72. Though critically panned for its mawkishness and saccharine sweetness, Love Story somehow struck a deep cultural chord and was universally adored, and became a hugely successful best-seller around the world. Originally written as a screenplay, the slim, modest volume has sold over 20 million copies.

Segal was not only the author of such international best-sellers as Love Story (1970), Oliver’s Story (1977), Man, Woman and Child (1980), The Class (1985), Doctors (1988), Acts of Faith (1992), Prizes (1995) and Only Love (1997), he was also a Classics professor at Yale, Harvard and Princeton who has written, edited or co-edited a number of scholarly works on ancient Greek and Latin literature: Roman Laughter: The Comedy of Plautus (1968), Euripedes: A Collection of Critical Essays (1968), Plautus: Three Comedies (which he also translated) (1969), Greek Tragedy: Modern Essays in Criticism (ed.) (1983), Caesar Augustus: Seven Aspects (co-edited with Fergus Millar) (1984), The Dialogues of Plato (ed.) (1986), Oxford Readings in Aristophanes (ed.) (1996), The Death of Comedy (2001), Oxford Readings in Greek Tragedy (ed.) (2001) and Oxford Readings in Menander, Plautus, and Terence (ed.) (2002).