Riviera towns

Riviera Writers
The Ex-Pats

Edith Wharton (1962-1937)

Born into a prosperous New York family, Edith Wharton left her husband to travel. Before the Riviera was popular, artists and writers enjoyed the climate and the life a little to the west, in Hyeres where Edith Wharton lived and wrote her novels of manners. For her services to refugees, the French Government awarded her the Legion d'Honneur in 1915. Now films of her novels are appearing ("Age of Innocence" by Scorsese.)

Lawrence Durrell (1912-1990)

Born in India, he too made his way to Paris where he befriended Henry Miller and Anais Nin. The Mediterranean forms the background to much of his published work, including the "Alexandria Quartet" (1957-60) and the "Avignon Quintet" (1974-1985). In his last 20 years, he lived in an old house in Sommieres. His book "Caesar's Vast Ghost" is a tribute to Provence.. Lawrence Durrell donated a bursary to Antibes that the Mayor awards each year to the most promising young writer in the town.

Antony Burgess (1917-1992)

Born into an Irish immigrant family in Manchester, he originally wanted to be a musician and only started writing late in life, publishing his first novel "Time for a Tiger" in 1956. He lived in Monaco for the latter part of his life as a prolific writer, critic, poet, and musician. His best known work "A Clockwork Orange" is now a banned film. In a selection of his essays- "A Homage to QWERTY" , he describes his journey from Monaco to Antibes (along the stations of the Cross) to interview Graham Greene. Antony Burgess died in a London hospital and his ashes were returned to Monaco in 1994.

Dirk Bogarde (1921? - )

During and after his acting career, he lived in an old farmhouse near Grasse that, together with his manager/friend, he had lovingly restored. His autobiographical books (especially "An Orderly Man" ) cover his life in Provence. He left France to return to London because of the ill-health of his friend, who has since died. Dirk continues to produce his charming books - we hope he comes back.

Paul Gallico

Lived and worked in Antibes writing his delightful books about cats. His widow still lives a few minutes from Antibes Books

Graham Greene (1904 -1991)

Born in Hertfordshire where his father was a public school headmaster, Greene became editor of the letters page of the "London Times" . He left the Times to become a full-time writer and after early disappointments, succeeded both intellectually and commercially. His conversion to Catholicism in 1927 is apparent in such novels as "Brighton Rock" and "The Power And the Glory" . In later life, Greene lived in a small apartment in Rue Pasteur overlooking the port in Antibes so as to be close to the woman he loved. (She was already married.) They used to have lunch every day at Chez Felix, just across the street from Antibes Books Some of his short stories are set in the Old Town (eg "May We Borrow Your Husband" ). In 1991 he retired to a clinic in Switzerland where he spent his last days.

Nikos Kazanzakis (1883-1957)

Born to a Greek peasant family and writing always in Greek, he shouldn't really be in this list. But his work is as universal as Homer, and he chose voluntary exile in Antibes; so a detail of classification shouldn't exclude him. "Zorba the Greek" (1946) and "The Last Temptation of Christ" (1961)are his best known works. Fully 13 years of his life were devoted to "The Odyssey" a modern epic embracing all his intellectual concerns- popular Greek Language, Lenin, Nietzsche, Buddhism, Bergson. On his death, the Archbishop of Athens refused him proper burial but his own people, the Cretans gave him a Christian burial. The town of Antibes has honoured him with a "Placette Kazanzakis" just off the Place Safranier, with the inscription
"I fear Nothing, I want Nothing, I am free" .

Sue Lewis

One of our modern best selling writers has chosen to live in Valbonne not for literary material, but for pleasure. Her novel "Vengeance" (1994), is set in New Orleans and her next will be on the Riviera. Sue thinks this summary is quite enough.

Carol Drinkwater

After early years in UK repertory theatres and the National Theatre, Carol moved into films, TV and writing. As Helen Herriot in "All Creature Great and Small" , she won the "TV Personality of the Year" award. Her children's novel "The Haunted School" was made into a film that won the Chicago Film Festival Gold Award for children's films. Carol's first novel "An Abundance of Rain" , a thriller a love story set in Fiji is being developed as a film. Her second novel "Akin to Love" is about love, jealousy, and betrayal in the movie business. Write about what you know! Her latest novel "Mapping the Heart" is due out in late 1994 while a novel of the Screenplay "Molly" about a girl rollercoasting across Europe will be published with the TV series. Carol and her husband live in Cannes

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