Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Dai Vaughan, 1933–2012

Dai Vaughan – film editor and producer, teacher, essayist, poet, novelist, fabulist – died last night. Last October, a film-maker paid this tribute to Dai (‘the most interesting, serious and skilled editor anyone could hope to find in the UK’): ‘He was quick to laugh, and even quicker to stroke his beard when a serious thought took hold. Every day, rain or shine, Dai took a walk during lunch . . .’ Here is Dai in interview with Mark Thwaite: ‘The evolutionary psychologists are right: we are still chimpanzees. But do we have to remain chimpanzees? One reason for writing fiction, and this includes fiction without overt political content, is to confront people with such choices. There’s a well-worn formulation – Gramsci, isn’t it? – “pessimism of the intellect, optimism of the will”. I can subscribe to that.’

His novel Sister of the artist was published by CBe earlier this year. From the last poem in a sequence he sent to me a few weeks ago, now in proof: ‘And one counts, as with the / New-born, each breath a miracle.’

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