7 Things Nigel Told Me About Bruce Chatwin

  1. that Bruce was tough.

  2. that Bruce preferred a white hotel room with just the minimum in it.

  3. that Bruce used to say: ‘My wife lives in a damp valley and breeds horses.’

  4. that Bruce always had his notebook out and was always writing.

  5. that Bruce used to say: ‘Keep it simple. Avoid metaphors as much as possible.
    After all, you want to be translated.’

  6. that once he and Bruce were running for a bus in Rio and a small kid was in the
    way and Bruce just shouldered the kid aside.

  7. that Bruce used to say: ‘I’m not gay; I’m a bugger.’


Harry Ricketts teaches English Literature and Creative Writing at Victoria University of Wellington. His most recent collection of poems is Your Secret Life (2005).