Make Believe | Granta

  • Published: 04/10/2012
  • ISBN: 9781847086327
  • 129x20mm
  • 160 pages

Make Believe

Diana Athill

In Make Believe, Diana Athill, acclaimed author of Instead of a Letter and Stet, remembers her turbulent friendship with Hakim Jamal, a young black convert to the teachings of Malcolm X, whom she met in London in the late 1960s.

Despite a desperately troubled youth, he became an eloquent spokesman for the black underclass, was Jean Seberg’s lover and published a book about Malcolm X, before descending into a mania that had him believing he was God. A witness to his struggles, Diana Athill writes with her characteristic honesty about her entanglement with Jamal, Jamal’s relationship with the daughter of a British MP, Gail Benson, and Jamal’s, and separately Gail’s, eventual murders.

Unnervingly candid, cooly harrowing, redolent of the hectic late Sixties and early Seventies but oddly suggestive of the tortuous depths that all relationships hold

John Updike

A memoir with the immediacy and grip of a good novel

Hilary Mantel

The Author

Diana Athill was born in 1917. She helped André Deutsch establish the publishing company that bore his name and worked as an editor for Deutsch for four decades. Athill’s distinguished career as an editor is the subject of her acclaimed memoir Stet. She is the author of seven further volumes of memoirs, Instead of a Letter, After a Funeral, Yesterday Morning, Make Believe, Somewhere Towards the End, Alive, Alive Oh!, A Florence Diary, and a collection of letters, Instead of a Book, all published by Granta. Her only novel, Don’t Look At Me Like That, was first published in 1967. In January 2009, she won the Costa Biography Award for Somewhere Towards the End, and was presented with an OBE. She died in January 2019.

More about the author →

From the Same Author

Diana Athill on Granta.com

Fiction | Granta Books

Don’t Look at Me Like That

Diana Athill

‘When I was at school I used to think that everyone disliked me, and it wasn’t far from true.’

Essays & Memoir | Granta 69

Editing Vidia

Diana Athill

‘I thought so highly of Vidia’s writing and felt his presence on our list to be so important that I simply could not allow myself not to like him.’

Essays & Memoir | Granta 69

Lessons

Diana Athill

‘My two valuable lessons are: avoid romanticism and abhor possessiveness.’