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Literary legacy of world-famous English author Tom Sharpe to remain in Catalonia

It has been announced that the works of satirical English author, Tom Sharpe, will remain in Catalonia, following the writer’s last will. In addition, his former doctor and secretary Montserrat Verdaguer has been charged with the creation of a foundation. In his will, Sharpe – famous for writing the ‘Wilt’ series – left all manuscripts, personal correspondence, photographs and an unfinished 30,000 word autobiography to Verdaguer. The doctor stated how she “would like the foundation to be in Palafrugell”, the Costa Brava town where Sharpe spent the final years of his life. With the information she has received, Verdaguer will begin writing an extensive biography. The writer died on the 6th of June at the age of 85 after having lived in the Catalan seaside village of Llafranc (in Palafrugell) since 1995.

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23 August 2013 09:41 PM

by

ACN / Julian Scully

Barcelona (ACN).- The former doctor and secretary of English satirical novelist Tom Sharpe has announced the creation of a foundation that will keep the legacy of the author in Catalonia. Sharpe was famous for writing ‘Porterhouse Blue’ as well as the ‘Wilt’ series and died in Catalonia in early June, where he was living since 1995. In his will, the writer left all his manuscripts, personal correspondence, photographs and unfinished 30,000 word autobiography to his doctor and secretary, Catalan Montserrat Verdaguer. In 2001, Sharpe asked Verdaguer to “put in order” the chaos of his work so that the legacy of his writings would be preserved. The author’s doctor has been entrusted by Sharpe with the writing of his biography and the creation of a foundation that will contain all his intellectual work. In his will, Sharpe made it clear that none of his literary heritage should be sold, “he wanted everything to be transferred to the foundation so that the centre could be a platform for young people to study”, told Verdaguer to CNA. “Since 2001 I knew I would do it one day, but the size of the task has surprised me”, she continued. The doctor noted how she “would like the foundation to be located in Palafrugell”, the Costa Brava town where Sharpe spent the last years of his life. However, the exact final location has yet to be decided. Sharpe bought a house in the coastal village of Llafranc (which is part of Palafrugell) in 1995 after “falling in love with the sunlight and the Mediterranean sea”, according to his widow Nancy. Sharpe lived in the property since then and died peacefully on the 6th of June at the age of 85.


“A great honour”

During the past 12 years Verdaguer has been making notes on the author’s life through reading through his correspondence and re-reading all his manuscripts and works. In order to “collect all the material necessary to make a complete biography” she has also travelled to Cambridge, where Sharpe studied, and South Africa, where he lived during the 1950s and fought against the Apartheid regime. In his will, Sharpe left his property and economic assets to his widow and family, while Verdaguer received his complete literary works among other things. The doctor stated how “for me it is a great honour to be chosen to receive all his manuscripts, photographs, typewriters and cameras”.

Sharpe’s literary legacy preserved through a bibliography and foundation

Verdaguer has highlighted the scale of the task which is before her, “he knew I collected everything he did, and many of our conversations were recorded on camera, but I really was surprised at the magnitude of the intellectual legacy that he has left”, she stated excitedly. She will re-read Sharpe’s works before making a start on the biography. “I have not proposed a time limit; it may be two, three, or even four years, however long it takes me to study the personality and way of thinking of Tom Sharpe”.

The renowned English writer stated that he wanted to create a foundation of his works but would let Verdaguer decide upon the location. “I would like it to be in Palafrugell, and on Monday I met with the Mayor of the town and I believe it is the correct place for it to be located”, she explained. There is also a “great willingness” of the Town Council to go ahead with the project, which would be located near to where Sharpe spent the final years of his life. However, the exact location is to be decided yet.

The creator of ‘Wilt’ and resident of Catalonia

Sharpe was born in London in 1928 and studied at the University of Cambridge. Upon completion of his studies he carried out his military service in South Africa where he worked as a social worker and teacher. He then fought against the Apartheid regime and was consequentially imprisoned and then deported. With his sarcastic tone of writing his books have criticised varying aspects of life including the education system, as was seen in the comedy novel ‘Wilt’ and its sequels. Sharpe used to visit the Catalan coastal village of Llafranc in order to find a peaceful place to write. In 1995 the author bought his own house in the village. Juli Fernández, Mayor of Palafrugell and Llafranc, stated that 18 years ago Sharpe decided to settle down in the town because of its “tranquillity”. Sharpe noted that in the Costa Brava he found both “respect” and “peace”.

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  • Montserrat Verdaguer showing a Tom Sharpe's document (by N. Guisasola)

  • Montserrat Verdaguer showing a Tom Sharpe's document (by N. Guisasola)