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Tom Sharpe leaves an unfinished autobiography after dying in his Costa Brava house aged 85

The world-famous English satirical writer, author of the ‘Wilt’ series and the novel ‘Porterhouse Blue’, died in the Catalan coastal village of Llafranc, where he had been living since the early 1990s. The writer’s doctor and secretary unveiled that Sharpe had left an unfinished autobiography with 30,000 words already written. The British author died from complications of his diabetes while he was sleeping in his house during the early hours of Thursday. He passed away “in the most peaceful way”, his widow Nancy told the press. Nancy Sharpe thanked medical services for the attention received in the last few days and stated that the family will keep the Costa Brava house, which was so dear to the writer. She explained that her husband “fell in love with the sunlight and the Mediterranean sea” of the Costa Brava.

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07 June 2013 01:17 AM

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ACN

Llafranc (ACN).- The world-famous English satirical writer Tom Sharpe, author of the \u2018Wilt\u2019 series and the novel \u2018Porterhouse Blue\u2019, died in the Catalan coastal village of Llafranc, where he had been living since the early 1990s. The writer\u2019s doctor and secretary, Monserrat Verdaguer, unveiled on Thursday that Sharpe had left an unfinished autobiography with 30,000 words already written. The British author died from complications of his diabetes while he was sleeping in his house during the early hours of Thursday. He passed away \u201Cin the most peaceful way\u201D, his widow Nancy told the press with fortitude. Nancy Sharpe and Montserrat Verdaguer participated in the first homage to the English writer, organised in Llafranc\u2019s Hotel Llevant where the author spent a few winters before buying his own house in the village in 1995. Nancy Sharpe thanked the medical services for the attention received in the last few days and stated that the family will keep the Costa Brava house, which was so dear to her husband. In addition, she explained that they decided twenty years ago to live in Llafranc because Tom Sharpe \u201Cfell in love with the sunlight and the Mediterranean sea\u201D of the Costa Brava when he first visited the village in 1989 and spent a few winters there.


The hotel\u2019s current director and friend of the family Carme Farrarons, also present at the homage event, summarised it this way: \u201CIt was love at first sight; it was the end of autumn and it was an ideal place to write peacefully\u201D. Farrarons explained in an anecdote that her brother was at the front desk when Sharpe arrived and he asked him to sign a copy of one of his books. The author of \u2018Wilt\u2019 returned to the hotel where he spent three or four winters, occupying a room overlooking the sea, until he bought his own house in the village in 1995. Since then, Tom Sharpe lived most of the year in Catalonia, although he refused to learn Catalan or Spanish and said that he did not understand the languages. However, Farrarons stated that \u201Cafter a year\u201D, the English writer did in fact understand everything.

Farrarons remembers him as \u201Ca very disciplined writer\u201D. After having breakfast and going for a walk by the sea afterwards, Sharpe used to spend the rest of the day writing in his hotel room. She said they could hear how he was typing with his old typewriter, while he was listening to jazz music with headphones on, as he told them. After he had worked his hours, Sharpe used to go downstairs to chat with people, in particular a group of British citizens who were also living in the Costa Brava. \u201CHe was a very warm person, who loved to talk about parts of his life and who was interested in listening to others\u201D, Farrarons remembers.

30,000 words of an unfinished autobiography

In the few last months, Tom Sharpe had been writing his autobiography and he had already written 30,000 words of it, explained Montserrat Verdaguer, who was not only the author\u2019s doctor but also his secretary and friend. \u201CHe left it there, and it will be seen what will be made with it\u201D, she said. Verdaguer explained that she used to type up on the computer the notes that Sharpe had previously written with his typewriter. As she said, she was \u201Cputting some order into his chaos\u201D.

The last days

Wilt\u2019s author has suffered from diabetes for many years. He had been keeping the illness somewhat under control until 10 days ago, when he had a relapse and he stopped walking. From that point, the writer\u2019s health was considerably damaged. He passed away while he was sleeping in the night between Wednesday and Thursday, around 00.30. He was in the company of his spouse and one of their three daughters.

Nancy Sharpe wanted to be present at the homage paid on the same Thursday in order to give thanks for the medical services the writer had received in the final few days. She emphasised because of the services received the writer could stay at his home and not go into hospital. In fact, Nancy Sharpe explained that going into hospital gave the author \u201Cfear\u201D, because he did not want to be in a strange environment. With fortitude, the widow stated that \u201Che died in the most peaceful way and we are thankful for that\u201D.

An Anglican ceremony on Sunday

The family announced that they will organise Tom Sharpe\u2019s funeral for early on Sunday morning (8.15 am CET) in the church of Palafrugell, the larger town to which the village of Llafranc is administratively attached. An Anglican ceremony will be given. On Friday and Saturday, family and friends will host a vigil in the Palafrugell funeral home. Following the writer\u2019s wishes, his ashes will be scattered in Llafranc, Cambridge \u2013 where he studied \u2013 and South-Africa \u2013 where he lived for a few years in the 1950s and where his mother was from. In fact, once he was in South-Africa, Sharpe fought against the Apartheid regime and he spent some time in prison. It was after this experience that he started to write, already in his forties.

The Catalan Minister for Culture praised Tom Sharpe

Ferran Mascarell, the Catalan Government\u2019s Minister for Culture, reacted to Tom Sharpe\u2019s death on Thursday. Mascarell praised the writer\u2019s \u201Cabsolutely caustic\u201D perspective used in drafting \u201Ca magnificent work full of irony and sarcasm about some of the human condition\u2019s important questions\u201D. The Catalan Minister emphasised how Sharpe\u2019s \u201Csplendid\u201D work uses \u201Chumour\u201D to depict bureaucracy, politics, the education system and other social aspects \u201Che disliked\u201D. In addition, Mascarell underlined that this \u201Cgreat writer\u201D chose the Costa Brava to live in, where he adopted a discrete profile. \u201CIt was his choice; to live comfortably around Palafrugell and Llafranc and not have the status of a star\u201D, he said. Mascarell also added that Sharpe\u2019s choice to adopt a low profile was always respected in Catalonia.

A future homage will be organised in Sharpe\u2019s Catalan town

In addition, the Mayor of Palafrugell \u2013 who is also Llafranc\u2019s Mayor \u2013 Juli Fernández lamented \u201Cthe loss\u201D not only for the town \u201Cbut in particular for the entire world\u201D. Fernández praised Sharpe\u2019s commitment to literature, freedom, human rights and the quality of public services, such as public healthcare. Fernández announced that, once the funeral has taken place, they will talk to the family and decide with them how the town could organise a tribute to one of its most distinguished residents. The Mayor remarked on how 18 years ago Sharpe decided to settle down in Llafranc because of its \u201Ctranquillity\u201D. He said that in this Costa Brava spot he had found \u201Cpeace\u201D and \u201Crespect\u201D for literature and landscape.

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  • Nancy Sharpe addressing the press in Llafranc (by L. Casademont)

  • Tom Sharpe in Barcelona (by Anagrama / ACN)

  • Nancy Sharpe addressing the press in Llafranc (by L. Casademont)
  • Tom Sharpe in Barcelona (by Anagrama / ACN)