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Kintbury author Robert Harris pays tribute to John le Carré on BBC Breakfast

Spy novelist's death announced

Trish Lee

Trish Lee

trish.lee@newburynews.co.uk

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01635 886663

Robert Harris

Kintbury author Robert Harris appeared on BBC Breakfast this morning to pay tribute to John le Carré, who died on Saturday evening, age 89.

Le Carré’s work drew on his own experience working for the British intelligence services and his third novel The Spy Who Came in From the Cold, written in 1963, made him the most famous spy writer in the world. His greatest character – George Smiley – appeared in several novels, including Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy  and Smiley’s People

Following the news from his literary agent yesterday, Mr Harris posted on social media: “One of the great postwar British novelists and an unforgettable, unique character."

This morning Mr Harris appeared with crime writer Ian Rankin on BBC Breakfast paying tribute and giving viewers an insight into the writer’s life and place in literature.

Mr Harris at one time stayed with le Carré – whose real name was David Cornwell – at his Cornwall home, with a view to writing his biography, but gave the idea up to write his own bestselling novels. He spoke of the novelist's huge influence on other writers.

He said le Carré could not only tell a story but also plumb psychological depths and had transcended from books to popular culture. He had re-written spy fiction in this country and across the world and, like Charles Dickens, would be known 100 years from now.

 “A great loss.”

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