Svetlana Alexievich Is Rare Nonfiction Winner of Nobe-NEW YORK TIMES


Svetlana Alexievich taking home the Nobel Prize in Literature on Thursday was especially sweet news to her fellow journalists. Anne Applebaum, whose books include a study of the Soviet concentration camps, wrote on Twitter: “among other things Svetlana Alexievich Nobel is a long-overdue acknowledgment of the literary value of non-fiction.” (The announcement also brought its annual crop of jokes on social media. Claire Fallon of The Huffington Post: “another nobel prize in literature announced, another unconscionable snub of Jewel.”)

Philip Gourevitch, whose account of Rwanda’s genocide, “We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Families,” is one of the most acclaimed nonfiction books of the past 20 years, wrote a prescient piece for The New Yorker last year. In it, he celebrated the fact that Ms. Alexievich was listed among the favorites for the 2014 Nobel. “Is it possible that the Nobel committee might finally reverse the ignoble treatment of what we call ‘nonfiction writing’ and admit that it is literature?” Mr. Gourevitch wrote.

Ms. Alexievich is best known to English-language readers for “Voices From Chernobyl,” an oral history about the nuclear disaster. In The New York Times Book Review, Nicholas Confessore wrote: “Grim and grotesque, the stories accrete across the pages like the radionuclides lodged in the bodies of those who survived.”

“Zinky Boys: The Record of a Lost Soviet Generation,” about the effects of the decade-long Soviet war in Afghanistan that began in 1979, was published in an English translation in 1992. John Lloyd, reviewing it for The London Review of Books, called it a “sad, sometimes unreadably sad book,” and described its method:

It consists of a series of interviews presented as short narratives, without interpolations from the author. People speak for themselves, in other words, which was neither a Soviet nor a pre-Soviet literary practice. Svetlana Alexievich, a young Belorussian journalist, has managed to escape from the leaden disciplines of Soviet journalism in which she must have been trained, to discover this mode of presenting her material, and has used it well, if at times repetitiously.

Describing her own work, Ms. Alexievich once said: “I would say I’m an independent writer. I can’t call myself a Soviet writer, or even a Russian writer. . . . I would say I’m a writer of that epoch, the Soviet utopia, writing the history of that utopia in each of my books. . . . I continue writing about the little man versus the great utopia. I describe the disappearance of this utopia and how it affects the common person.”

Coverage of Ms. Alexievich and her work:

“Zinky Boys” Review (London Review of Books)

Video of 2005 Panel Discussion: “Confronting the Worst: Writing and Catastrophe”

Interview With Ana Lucic

Excerpt of “Voices From Chernobyl” (The Paris Review)

Excerpt of “Voices From Chernobyl” (n+1)




This name uses Eastern Slavic naming customs; the patronymic is Alexandrovna and the family name is Alexievich.Native name Святлана Аляксандраўна Алексіевіч

Born Svetlana Alexandrovna Alexievich31 May 1948 (age 67)

Stanislav, Ukrainian SSR, Soviet Union

Occupation Journalist/Author

Language Russian

Nationality Belarusian

Notable awards Nobel Prize in Literature (2015)

Peace Prize of the German Book Trade (2013)

Prix Médicis (2013)


She was awarded the 2015 Nobel Prize in Literature “for her polyphonic writings, a monument to suffering and courage in our time”. She is the first writer from Belarus to receive the award.


Born in the west Ukrainian town of Stanislav (since 1962 Ivano-Frankivsk) to a Belarusian father and a Ukrainian mother, Alexievich grew up in Belarus. After finishing school she worked as a reporter in several local newspapers before graduating from Belarusian State University (1972) and becoming a correspondent for the literary magazine Neman in Minsk (1976).[6]

She went on to a career in journalism and writing narratives from interviews with witnesses to the most dramatic events in the country, such as World War II, the Soviet-Afghan war, the fall of the Soviet Union, and the Chernobyl disaster. After persecution by the Lukashenko regime,[7] she left Belarus in 2000.[8] The International Cities of Refuge Network offered her sanctuary and during the following decade she lived in Paris, Gothenburg and Berlin. In 2011, Alexievich moved back to Minsk.

Literary work

Her books are described as a literary chronicle of the emotional history of the Soviet and post-Soviet individual, as told by means of a carefully constructed collage of interviews.[11] According to Russian writer and critic Dmitry Bykov, her books owe much to the ideas of Belarusian writer Ales Adamovich, who insisted that the only way to describe the horrors of the 20th century was not to create fiction but to document the testimonies of the witnesses.[12] Belarusian poet Uladzimir Nyaklyayew called Adamovich “her literary godfather”. He also named the documentary novel “I’m from the burned village” (Belarusian: Я з вогненнай вёскі, by Ales Adamovich, Janka Bryl and Uladzimir Kalesnik) about the villages burned by the Nazi troops during the occupation of Belarus as the main single book that has influenced Alexievich’s attitude to literature Alexievich admitted the influence of Adamovich and added, among others, Belarusian writer Vasil Bykaŭ as another source of impact on her. Her most notable works in English translation include a collection of first-hand accounts from the war in Afghanistan (Zinky Boys: Soviet Voices from a Forgotten War)[15] and a highly praised oral history of the Chernobyl disaster (Voices from Chernobyl).[16] Alexievich describes the theme of her works this way:

If you look back at the whole of our history, both Soviet and post-Soviet, it is a huge common grave and a blood bath. An eternal dialog of the executioners and the victims. The accursed Russian questions: what is to be done and who is to blame. The revolution, the gulags, the Second World War, the Soviet-Afghan war hidden from the people, the downfall of the great empire, the downfall of the giant socialist land, the land-utopia, and now a challenge of cosmic dimensions – Chernobyl. This is a challenge for all the living things on earth. Such is our history. And this is the theme of my books, this is my path, my circles of hell, from man to man.

Her first book, War’s Unwomanly Face, came out in 1985. It was repeatedly reprinted and sold more than two million copies. The book was finished in 1983, but published only two years later because of “pacifism, naturalism and dethronement the heroic image of the Soviet woman”. This novel is made up of monologues of women in the war speaking about the aspects of World War II that had never been related before. Another book, The Last Witnesses: the Book of Unchildlike Stories, describes personal memories of children during war time. The war seen through women’s and children’s eyes revealed a whole new world of feelings. In 1993, she published Enchanted with Death, a book about attempted and completed suicides due to the downfall of the Soviet Union. Many people felt inseparable from the Communist ideology and unable to accept the new order and the newly interpreted history.

Her books were not published by Belarusian state-owned publishing houses after 1993, while private publishers in Belarus have only published two of her books: Voices from Chernobyl in 1999 and Second-hand Time in 2013, both translated into Belarusian. As a result, Alexievich was better known in the rest of world than in Belarus.

She has been described as the first journalist to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature.


English translations

The Unwomanly Face of War, (extracts), from Always a Woman: Stories by Soviet Women Writers, Raduga Publishers, 1987

War’s Unwomanly Face, Moscow : Progress Publishers, 1988, ISBN 5-01-000494-1

Voices from Chernobyl: The Oral History of a Nuclear Disaster (Dalkey Archive Press 2005; ISBN 1-56478-401-0)

Zinky Boys: Soviet Voices from the Afghanistan War (W W Norton & Co Inc 1992; ISBN 0-393-03415-1) Other edition: Zinky boys: Soviet voices from a forgotten war (The ones who came home in zinc boxes), translated by Julia and Robin Whitby, London: Chatto & Windus, 1992, ISBN 0-7011-3838-6

Awards and honors

Alexievich has been awarded many international awards, including:

1996 Tucholsky-Preis (Swedish PEN)

1997 Andrei Sinyavsky Prize

1998 Leipziger Book Prize on European Understanding

1998 Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung-Preis

1999 Herder Prize

2005 National Book Critics Circle Award, Voices from Chernobyl

2007 Oxfam Novib/PEN Award

2011 Ryszard Kapuściński Award for literary reportage (Polish)

2013 Peace Prize of the German Book Trade

2013 Prix Médicis essai, La Fin de l’homme rouge ou le temps du désenchantement

2015 Nobel Prize in Literature

She is a member of the advisory committee of the Lettre Ulysses Award.



THE Belarusian writer, Svetlana Alexievich, whose oral histories have recorded thousands of individual voices to map the implosion of the Soviet Union, has won the Nobel Prize for Literature. In announcing her win, the Swedish Academy praised Alexievich’s “polyphonic writings”, describing them as a “monument to suffering and courage in our time”.

She becomes the 14th woman to win the prize since it was first awarded in 1901. The last woman to win, Canada’s Alice Munro, was in 2013.

In a telephone conversation, Alexievich said the award left her with a “complicated” feeling.

According to her, “It immediately evokes such great names as (Ivan) Bunin, (Boris) Pasternak,” she said, referring to Russian writers who have won the prize. “On the one hand, it’s such a fantastic feeling, but it’s also a bit disturbing.”

She said eight million Swedish krona (£775,000) prize would “buy her freedom”.

“It takes me a long time to write my books, from five to 10 years. I have two ideas for new books so I’m pleased that I will now have the freedom to work on them.”

Alexievich was born on May 31, 1948, in the Ukrainian town of Ivano-Frankovsk into a family of a serviceman. Her father is Belarusian and her mother is Ukrainian. After her father’s demobilisation from the army, the family returned to his native Belorussia and settled in a village where both parents worked as schoolteachers. She left school to work as a reporter on the local paper in the town of Narovl.

She has written short stories, essays and reportage but says she found her voice under the influence of the Belorusian writer Ales Adamovich, who developed a genre which he variously called the “collective novel”, “novel-oratorio”, “novel-evidence”, “people talking about themselves” and the “epic chorus”.

According to Sara Danius, the permanent secretary of the Swedish Academy, Alexeivich is an “extraordinary” writer.

“For the past 30 or 40 years, she’s been busy mapping the Soviet and post-Soviet individual,” Danius said, “but it’s not really about a history of events. It’s a history of emotions – what she’s offering us is really an emotional world, so these historical events she’s covering in her various books, for example the Chernobyl disaster, the Soviet war in Afghanistan, these are in a way just pretexts for exploring the Soviet individual and the post-Soviet individual.”

“She’s conducted thousands and thousands of interviews with children, with women and with men, and in this way she’s offering us a history of human beings about whom we didn’t know that much… and at the same time she’s offering us a history of emotions, a history of the soul.”

In Voices From Chernobyl, Alexievich interviews hundreds of those affected by the nuclear disaster, from a woman holding her dying husband despite being told by nurses that “that’s not a person anymore, that’s a nuclear reactor” to the soldiers sent in to help, angry at being “flung … there, like sand on the reactor”.

In Zinky Boys, she gathers voices from the Afghan war: soldiers, doctors, widows and mothers.

Jacques Testard, an editor at Fitzcarraldo, said of Alexievich’s works, “Her books are very unusual and difficult to categorise. They’re technically non-fiction, but English and American publishers are loath to take risks on a book just because it’s good, without something like a Nobel prize.”

Alexievich led the odds for the 2015 award, ahead of Japan’s Haruki Murakami, Kenya’s Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o and the Norwegian playwright Jon Fosse.



IT is simply not true that history is at a crossroads. On the contrary, it is we who are mere mortals, as opposed to history which is eternal, who are marking time at the crossroads. That is the firm verdict of Professor Steve McGregor-McCween, the emeritus professor of History who over the last three decades has held academic positions at several leading American universities – Princeton, Yale, Stanford and more recently Georgetown. In the last three years, his focus has been Africa in general and Nigeria in particular.

In a lecture at Georgetown University Law Center before a packed hall of students graduating in History / African Studies, he, rather than focus on history per se, devoted most of the lecture to law, particularly the principle of equal justice under the law which owes its origin to the funeral oration delivered in 431 BC by the Athenian leader Pericles:

“Our constitution does not copy the laws of neighbouring States; we are rather a pattern to others than imitators ourselves. Its administration favours the many instead of the few; that is why it is called democracy. If we look to the laws, they afford equal justice to all in their private differences; if no social standing, advancement in public life falls to reputation for capacity, class considerations not being allowed to interfere with merit; nor again does poverty bar the way, if a man is able to serve the state, he is not hindered by the obscurity of his condition.”

He then proceeded to pay fulsome tribute to late Justice Thurgood Marshall (July 2, 1908 – January 24, 1983) and recommend his dictum:
“Just do the right thing and hope that the law follows and catches up with you”.

Thurgood Marshall was an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court from October 1967 until October 1991. He was the Court’s 96th justice and its first African-American justice. Before becoming a judge, he was a lawyer (not a chartered accountant!) who was celebrated for his phenomenal success rate in arguing cases before the Supreme Court and for the victory in Brown versus Board of Education, a decision that desegregated public schools.

The erudite scholar was able to draw support from the late President of the United States of America, Thomas Jefferson who famously declared: “I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past.”

Without missing a beat, the guest speaker deftly reminded us that we have to be careful not to mix up “Judicial Review” with “Judicial Supremacy.” Judicial Review is the doctrine under which legislative and executive actions are subject to review by the judiciary.

On the other hand, “Judicial Supremacy” is when the courts have the power to change laws that infringe the Charter of Rights and Freedoms or when courts make all the laws, abiding by the Charter.

Furthermore, the doctrine is re-inforced by and firmly anchored on the following dictum:

“The supremacy of Supreme Court opinions in questions of constitutionality has evolved into an indisputable doctrine in the United States. Virtually nobody, particularly in the legal community, questions the idea that the Court serves as the final decision maker when it comes to the Constitution.”

We were caught completely off-guard when the Guest speaker mischievously quoted Professor Mike Maharrey who flatly denounced the doctrine:
“This view is nonsense. John Marshall’s 1803 opinion in Marbury versus Madison serves as the cornerstone of this doctrine. After all, Marshall declared: “It is emphatically the province and duty of the judicial department to say what the law is (not to change it).”

Thankfully, history provides confirmation that on February 27, 2013, Maharrey testified before a Tennessee Senate Committee on a proposed Second Amendment Act and argued that:

“Modern legal scholars snatch Marshall’s words out of context. He never intended to imply that the Supreme Court was the sole and final arbiter on all things constitutional. The Chief Justice was merely asserting that the Court can, in fact, strike down an act of Congress by calling it unconstitutional. Nowhere in his opinion does Marshall hold that the Court has exclusive authority to rule on constitutionality, but places the power in the courts, along with other branches of government. The particular phraseology of the Constitution confirms and strengthens the principle – that a law repugnant to the Constitution is void, and that courts, as well as other departments, are bound by that instrument.”

For laymen and chartered accountants what we could at the very least take away was confirmation that:
“Judicial review is the doctrine under which legislative and executive actions are subject to review by the judiciary. A court with judicial review power may invalidate laws and decisions that are incompatible with a higher authority, such as the terms of a written constitution. Judicial review is one of the checks and balances (not balance sheet!!) in the separation of powers: the power of the judiciary to supervise the legislative and executive branches when the latter exceed their authority. The doctrine varies between jurisdictions, so the procedure and scope of judicial review may differ between and within countries.”

Even more intriguing is another doctrine as regards which the Guest Speaker waxed lyrical – “Civilian Control Of The Military.”

“Civilian control of the military is a doctrine in military and political science that places ultimate responsibility for a country’s strategic decision-making in the hands of the civilian political leadership, rather than professional military officers.”

We were served with two contrasting examples.

Samuel P. Huntington : “The Soldier And The State”

“The civilian ideal is the proper subordination of a competent, professional military to the ends of policy as determined by civilian authority. The de facto opposite of civilian control of the military is military dictatorship. De facto lack of control over the military may result in a state within a state.”

Mao Zedong, President of the People’s Republic of China chose to shoot from the hip. He stated the crux of the matter bluntly:

“Our principle is that the Communist Party of China commands the gun, and the gun must never be allowed to command the party.”

We were treated to the following citation on late Justice Thurgood Marshall: Thurgood Marshall was America’s leading radical. He led a civil rights revolution in the 20th century that forever changed the landscape of American society. But he is the least well known of the three leading black figures of this century.

Martin Luther King Jr., with his preachings of love and non-violent resistance, and Malcolm X, the fiery street preacher who advocated a bloody overthrow of the system, are both more closely associated in the popular mind and myth with the civil rights struggle. But it was Thurgood Marshall, working through the courts to eradicate the legacy of slavery and destroying the racist segregation system of Jim Crow, who had an even more profound and lasting effect on race relations than either of King or Malcolm X.

• Bashorun Randle OFR, FCA wrote from Lagos.




Sitting in this awful total darkness
Muttering agony to blank, unfeeling walls
Sitting by my favorite but cold window
Muttering anguish from subsidy corruption

Recalling misery from daily scarcities
Thinking zero power supply after the waste
Recalling same old, wicked, inhuman lies
Thinking of their parting slaps to our faces

Remembering debates about change or not
Hoping it’s just not a slogan, another lie
Remembering stealing by subsidy demons
Hoping change will plug the evil wickedness

Sitting, muttering what could have been
Recalling, thinking the torment and the pain
Remembering the scams and stinging blows
Hoping for warm walls and window again…..July, 2015



That gentle evening on the Bar Beach

The waves rolling in slowly, endlessly

The ocean splashing or murmuring

Bringing back memories of my youthful days

Sweet, happy, gentle, uncomplicated ways

For a while all worries, cares and sorrows

Washed away by those waves of simplicity

My sorrows dissolve in my beers and the suya

Watching lovers holding hands or on horses go by

Reminiscing my youthful days gone away

Remembering Surulere, flowers and butterflies

Then the Aladuras arrive singing and ringing

Waking me from my rolling, happy dream

And all my worries and sorrows return……74/75 (Bar Beach)




In my room quietly reclining

In the soft caress of candlelight

Thinking o’er my days and how spent

And the sound of my clock

An orchestra without audience except I

No accompaniment

No refreshing new note

That is my Life!

In this perfect bliss let me lie

Far away from the hasty, bashful  crowd

Clustering, restless people getting nowhere

The glow is soft and pricking my past

And like a stage of play revealing, delivering itself

While my future awaits the curtains to fall…..74/75 at Unife



2. Acrostic
3. Adamantine
4. Afflatus
5. Agita
6. Alula
7. Anamnestic
8. Apical
9. Argosy
10. Aspic
11. Auscultate
12. Avoirdupois
13. Avuncular
14. Batten
15. Behoove
16. Benedick
17. Benison
18. Bescumber
19. Bilk
20. Bise
21. Bittern
22. Blanch
23. Blather
24. Boanthropy
25. Bobolinks
26. Boor
27. Bork
28. Borscht
29. Bottine
30. Bouquetin
31. Bourne
32. Bravura
33. Brogue
34. Bullfinch
35. Bumboat
36. Cabriole
37. Cadaceus
38. Cairn
39. Caloyer
40. Campanology
41. Canaille
42. Canard
43. Canorous
44. Careen
45. Carronade
46. Casus Belli
47. Cedilla
48. Chantepleure
49. Cheveret
50. Chivvy
51. Chortle
52. Chronoscope
53. Civitas
54. Clerestory
55. Clints
56. Colcannon
57. Corolla
58. Crampon
59. Crenels
60. Cropets
61. Crynotikolobo
62. Cryophites
63. Cultivar
64. Cutaneous
65. Dannocks
66. Defesyestration
67. Deodends
68. Diacritical
69. Dibble
70. Didapper
71. Digerati
72. Diplopia
73. Divagate
74. Dogsbody
75. Donnybrook
76. Duffer
77. Eat Crow
78. Ecarte
79. Egger
80. Erbs.
81. Euregia
82. Evanescent
83. Fan-vaulting
84. Feckless
85. Felloe/felly
86. Filigree
87. Fimicolous
88. Fish-Gig
89. Flaneur
90. Floe
91. Flummery
92. Fluting
93. Fore-edge
94. Fricassee
95. Furcula
96. Genuflect
97. Genus
98. Gibus
99. Goldfinches
100. Gonys
101. Gravlax
102. Groak
103. Growler
104. Grues
105. Habiliments
106. Hagiographs
107. Halyard
108. Harpings
109. Heliotropism
110. Heptarchy
111. Hippocampus
112. Hoggerel
113. Hooptie
114. Hydroponics
115. Icromesky
116. Incardine
117. Indubitably
118. Julienne
119. Kelp
120. Lapidary
121. Lapidate
122. Lapiths
123. Leptorrhine
124. Libretto
125. Littoral
126. Lorimer
127. Lour
128. Lugubrious
129. Lupine
130. Majolica
131. Martingale
132. Massophile
133. Mauds
134. Maundy
135. Mello
136. Meretriciously
137. Merlon
138. Mesmerist
139. Minatory
140. Mocket
141. Monadnocks
142. Moraire
143. Morganatic
144. Mote
145. Nary
146. Neologism
147. Nidifugous
148. Niveous
149. Noggin
150. Noir
151. Nosegay
152. Notation
153. Nutraceutical
154. Obfuscate
155. Obloquy
156. Obscurantist
157. Obsequiously
158. Occultation
159. Oniochalasia
160. Operetta
161. Opus
162. Orotund
163. Oscular
164. Osmund
165. Palindropic
166. Paterfamilias
167. Pathography
168. Pelagic
169. Pelgranes
170. Peneplanes
171. Peroration
172. Perspicacity
173. Pettifogging
174. Pilgarlic
175. Pinch-hit
176. Piscatory
177. Piste
178. Plantaloon
179. Pluvial
180. Polymath
181. Pomanders
182. Porcinely
183. Porphyrogeniture
184. Porticus
185. Preantepenultimate
186. Preen
187. Preposterously
188. Pulsar
189. Pusillanimously
190. Quasar
191. Quibble
192. Quiddity
193. Quidnunc
194. Quiescent
195. Quintile
196. Quixotic
197. Quotidian
198. Ragout
199. Renascent
200. Rennet
201. Rhinal
202. Rococo
203. Russet
204. Saltire
205. Schlager
206. Schuss
207. Scotists
208. Scotopic
209. Scrimshaw
210. Scuttlebutt
211. Sentient
212. Serendipity
213. Shank
214. Shanny
215. Shard-born
216. Shitten
217. Silkie
218. Singe
219. Sisyphean
220. Smidgen
221. Soigné
222. Soigné
223. Sufferance
224. Suppedaneum
225. Svelte
226. Sybaritic
227. Syllogism
228. Syzygy
229. Tauten
230. Tensile
231. Thermicity
232. Tiercel 890
233. Tilth
234. Topiary
235. Treacly
236. Triblet
237. Triforium
238. Trommel
239. Trumeau
240. Twee
241. Ullage
242. Umlaut
243. Undergird
244. Uranography
245. Vendace
246. Verismo
247. Vexilology
248. Wheedle
249. White-out
250. Winebibber


Jackie Collins: Dealing with the Loss of a Loved On

A book is considered great if its plot moves us. Invariably, though, real life is often strange — and just as tragic — as fiction.

At least that has been the case for author Jackie Collins, whose life has been bittersweet on the subject of love and loss.

She nursed two men through terminal illnesses. The first — her husband of 27 years, the nightclub impresario Oscar Lerman — died of prostrate cancer in 1992. Two years later her fiancé, Los Angeles businessman Frank Calcagnini, was diagnosed with brain cancer. He died in 1996.

Although personal loss is a typical plot device, Collins, who has penned 27 best-selling novels, is the first to see the irony. “If I’d written all that’s happened to me, my readers would have found it hard to believe.”

In her latest book (2010), Poor Little Bitch Girl [St. Martin’s Press], a renowned star is murdered, and her daughter — one of the heroines in the book, to whom she was estranged — has to come to terms with it. “My own experiences gave me the tools to write about loss. That’s why personal tragedies enter into all my stories at some point.”

Collins offers this sage advice for moving on after a personal loss:

1. Take time for closure, but don’t dwell on the past.
“Unfortunately, at some point in our lives, each one of us is touched by tragedy — even the rich and famous,” explains Collins. “But what got me through it was celebrating their lives, as opposed to dwelling on their deaths.”

2. Let friends and family nurture you.
Collins raised three daughters with her husband. “They grew up in Beverly Hills. Believe it or not, that can be hard on a child because so many kids are indulged here, and are raised by others. I was a hands-on mother, and I enjoyed every moment of it.” Now that they are grown, she appreciates the roles they play in her life. “They are all wonderful women whom I love and appreciate dearly.”

She also has a close set of girlfriends with whom she has lunch with frequently. This is something Collins always looks forward to. In fact, she is her clique’s de facto photographer. “I love iPhoto! I take pictures of my friends, then at home on my computer, I’ll crop and print them.”

3. Date again, but choose wisely.
Says Collins: “There are so many bad boys out there, especially in Hollywood. And yes, I know so many of them. I loved writing about them, and you love reading about them. Unfortunately, that type attracts many young, naïve girls who don’t know better, but I do. With age comes experience.”

4. Get involved — with the world at large.
“I’m at a part of my life where I seek out opportunities to inspire others, particularly other women. With all that is happening in the world, each of us needs to get involved. I’ve had the good fortune to do so through my writing, as I have written some wonderful female characters who are not afraid to stand up for themselves. Lucky Santangelo, whom I’ve written into six books through two series, is a great example of that.”

There is no doubt that Collins is a born storyteller. “I truly feel I was blessed with a gift. I love that it makes others happy, too.”

By Author Josie Brown

Josie Brown is author of Secret Lives of Husbands and Wives [Simon & Shuster,2010]




Jackie Collins had an affair with Marlon Brando? WTF?

Had the body of a 19 year old when she was 14. Now… looks about.. errr.. 72

Well it happened a long time ago, but it’s still interesting news. In a wide-ranging interview with American tabloid The Globe, the British author of sensationalist sex novels like ‘Bitch’ confessed sleeping with Brando when she was 15.

Attending a Hollywood party with her older sister – the actress Joan Collins – Jackie claims that:

“He sent someone over to me to say, ‘Marlon thinks you’re great-looking and have a great body and would like to meet you.’ We had a very brief but fabulous affair. He was at the height of his fame and gorgeous.”

Collins, now 72, claimed to have ‘the body of a 19 year old’ at the age of 14, but regardless how well she was stacked, Brando could have faced serious legal problems had the affair come to light at the time. California law allows for a 4 year jail sentence for anyone having sex with an under 18 if there is more than 3 years between them.

Brando, like a lot of movie stars, was alleged to have an enormous sexual appetite. In interviews, he alluded to numerous affairs – including a long lasting one with Marilyn Monroe. His tastes just didn’t stop with women. Famously, he told an interviewer in 1976:

“Homosexuality is so much in fashion it no longer makes news. Like a large number of men, I, too, have had homosexual experiences and I am not ashamed. I have never paid much attention to what people think about me”

So there you have it.


1.”I have considered rap music stars, and there is one in my new book, Lovers and Players, and there is also a hip-hop music mogul who I think you will like a lot.”

2.”Agents are essential, because publishers will not read unsolicited manuscripts.”

3.”All of my books have the potential to become movies, it’s just a question of finding a studio who wants to get behind me and put up the money to make the movie.”

4.”Authors change publishers because it’s like being married for a long time and suddenly you want to go out and have a wild affair! No, not seriously, sometimes the deal is more interesting with a new publisher, and other times they have more enthusiasm for your books.”

5.”Brittany Murphy… who knows if she’s going to be around. Kirsten Dunst, I think she’s really boring. Reese Witherspoon? She can open a movie.”

6.”Do not copy my style! The first rule of writing is write about what you know, not what you think you know. So, think about what you’ve done in your life and write about that.”

7.”I am currently talking to one of the studios about making American Star as a TV series.”

8.”I am still shocking people today, and I don’t know why. Is it because I’m a woman talking about sex and men? One magazine said that no one writes sex in the back of a Bentley better than Jackie Collins.”

9.”I don’t believe in writing anything that I don’t know about or haven’t researched about personally. I like to transport the reader to places, and in order to do that I have to do the research.”

10.”I have this theory that people in Hollywood don’t read. They read ‘Vanity Fair’ and then consider themselves terribly well read. I think I can basically write about anybody without getting caught.”

11.”I have visited Australia several times, and I always try to make a point of going to Melbourne because it’s almost my favorite city there, Melbourne and Sydney. But I shouldn’t say that because I haven’t been everywhere-and I’m very fond of Perth too!”

12.”I have written 20 books, and each one is like having a baby. Writing is not easy; some people want to write books but just can’t put a story together. I can put together a story that interests both me and my readers.”

13.”I know that I am very popular in Holland, in fact I have visited Amsterdam several times to publicize my books. I have a great publisher in Holland and they have published all of my books in Dutch.”

14.”I like to be alone. I like the peace of it. I don’t want a stylist, any of that. I like to keep it simple.”

15.”I really fall in love with my characters, even the bad ones. I love getting together with them. They tell me what to do; they take me on a wild and wonderful trip.”

15.”I think I’m a born storyteller. Inspiration is all around me. I can read a newspaper article and come up with an idea for a book.”

16.”I was never confident about finishing a book, but friends encouraged me. When I finished my first book, it was accepted by a publisher right away and became an instant bestseller. One male critic called it the most shocking book he ever read.”

17.”I write about real people in disguise. If anything, my characters are toned down-the truth is much more bizarre.”

18.”I write about the American dream: if you set your mind to do something, you can do it. My fans know they’re getting the real thing.”

19.”I write synopses after the book is completed. I can’t write it beforehand, because I don’t know what the book’s about. I invent something for my publisher because he asks for one, but the final book ends up very differently.”

20.”Ideas are all around me. If I wasn’t interested in them myself, I don’t think anyone else would be either.”

21.”If you want to achieve your dreams, you must follow them, and the best way to follow them is not to think about wanting to be very rich, but to think about doing something that you really want to do.”

22.”My philosophy is, unless you’re sick and need help, why bother?”

23.”My weakness is wearing too much leopard print.”

24.”People are intrigued by fame, power and wealth and I think Hollywood is the only place where you get all three together.”

25.”The biggest critics of my books are people who never read them.”

26″The husbands, who sometimes have another family who’s grown, are going, Now I can spend time with my baby. Oh yeah, I bet your other family is really thrilled.”

27.”Viagra is a drug, just like cocaine. It can cause you to become addicted.”

28.”Whatever you have a passion for, then you must do. If you want to write, write about something you know about.”

29.”Where was Paris Hilton a year ago? She’s a fabulous character to write about.”

30.”Who is ready to settle for five minutes when three hours does nicely?”


500m books sold in over 40 countries

31 consecutive NY Times Bestsellers

Giving inside scoop of Hollywood after dark

Collins married her first husband, Wallace Austin, in 1960 and divorced in 1964. They had one child, Tracy, born in 1961.

In 1965, Collins married her second husband, gallery and nightclub owner Oscar Lerman. They had two daughters together, Tiffany and Rory. The pair were fixtures in the Los Angeles social scene. They remained married until his death in 1992 from prostate cancer.With her vibrant personality, Collins was a natural on TV and made several appearances on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.

After Lerman died, Collins began dating Los Angeles businessman Frank Calcagnini, who died in 1998 from a brain tumor.

In the 1980s, Collins’ fame continued to rise and in 1983 she published her most successful novel, Hollywood Wives. The book was later turned into a successful TV series produced by Aaron Spelling and starring Candice Bergen, Stefanie Powers and Angie Dickinson. In the same decade, Collins moved to Los Angles full-time with her family.

She was extremely close to her sister, Joan Collins, who got a jump-start in her Hollywood career when she starred in film versions of Jackie’s novels like The Stud. Jackie kept her cancer diagnosis a secret from her sister, only telling her about the tragic news two weeks before her death. “She was my best friend,” Joan told PEOPLE after Jackie died.