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My brother Sandy
Philip Roth Writer
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I had a brother five years older than myself, named Sandy. He also was a big factor in my life, he was as kind as could be, he let me go wherever he went, he let me follow after him, his friends used to say that if Sandy stops short, Phillip's nose will go right up his arse. And he wanted to be… very early on he wanted to be an artist, he wanted to be a painter and he went to art school on Saturdays in New York City, the Art Students League on West 57th Street. And I had an uncle who was also a painter, my mother's... brother, and so I saw that people had occupations outside the common place ones, you know, and he had all his art equipment in the dining room and would draw there and paint. Whenever we went anywhere on a bus together he was drawing, all the time he was drawing the other… the other people, and I was amazed by what he did. It was… it still amazes me. He's... he's now dead, he died two years ago at the age of 81, I think. My mother and father, of course, died some time ago, about 20 years ago my mother and about 12 years ago my father. So I'm the last one standing.

The fame of the American writer Philip Roth (1933-2018) rested on the frank explorations of Jewish-American life he portrayed in his novels. There is a strong autobiographical element in much of what he wrote, alongside social commentary and political satire. Despite often polarising critics with his frequently explicit accounts of his male protagonists' sexual doings, Roth received a great many prestigious literary awards which include a Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1997, and the 4th Man Booker International Prize in 2011.

Listeners: Christopher Sykes

Christopher Sykes is an independent documentary producer who has made a number of films about science and scientists for BBC TV, Channel Four, and PBS.

Tags: New York City, Art Student's League, Sandy Roth

Duration: 1 minute, 37 seconds

Date story recorded: March 2011

Date story went live: 18 March 2013