B.S. Johnson and Maureen Duffy: Aspiring Writers: A Conversation with Maureen Duffy
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Maureen Duffy and B.S. Johnson met at King’s College London in 1956 when they both enrolled to read for a degree in English Literature. They became friends and colleagues through their contributions to Lucifer, the college literary magazine and the wider University of London poetry scene. They later joined forces in the Writer’s Action Group and campaigned for public lending rights for authors. Maureen kindly agreed to be interviewed about her relationship with Johnson, but in addition to this her interview sheds light on the socio-political context of British post-war writing. Maureen was born in 1933 in Worthing, Sussex and came to prominence in 1962 with the autobiographical novel That’s How It Was. Although mainly known for her poetry, her prose work has received critical and popular acclaim. Gor Saga (1981) was dramatised and broadcast by the BBC in 1988 as First Born, a three-part mini-series vehicle for Charles Dance. She is also the author of 16 plays for stage, television and radio. Maureen is well known as a humanist and gay rights activist and for her work championing the financial and legal interests of writers. She is currently the President of the Authors Licensing and Copyright Society, and a Fellow and Vice President of the Royal Society of Literature. This interview took place in London in July 2013 and first appeared in the inaugural edition of B.S.J: The B. S. Johnson Journal.