Kingsley Amis, writer of Berkhamsted

A large biography of the novelist Kingsley Amis (2007), and a collection of his letters (2000) were written and edited by Zachary Leader.


Available on Amazon

Both are good reads and the letters are funny, – and, be warned, rude. The first letter in the collection, dated 5th November 1941, was from 3, Highfield Road, Berkhamsted (Kingsley’s parents’ home) “a sort of workman’s cottage”. He refers to Berkhamsted in his letters, usually to Philip Larkin, as: The Bad Town; Ferkhamsted, Ferts; The Wrong Town; The Good Town; The Worst Town; The Bad Town in Herts. It is reported that his first work of fiction called The Legacy (never published) was based on Berkhamsted (Whitestead in the novel).

Bill Willett, Chronicle, Vol VIII, pp.49-50