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Barry Fantoni All Authors »

About The Author


Barry FantoniBarry Fantoni was born in London's East End in 1940 to an Italian father and a Jewish mother of French and Dutch extraction, both gifted musicians. Aged just fourteen, he was awarded the Wedgewood Scholarship for the Arts and was sent to Camberwell School of Arts & Crafts where he formed the first art school jazz band, a film society and pioneered a drama group. Then got expelled.

In 1963, following a period of travel and the sell out of his first one man show in London, Fantoni joined Private Eye magazine as a member of the editorial staff. He would appear in all but 31 issues of the magazine in its 50 years. His contributions include cartoon strip 'Scenes You Seldom See', Neasden FC and its two supporters, Sid and Doris Bonkers, and E J Thribb's legendary Poets Corner.

In 1966 Barry was given the job of creating and presenting a TV show exploring popular trends in the arts called A Whole Scene Going. Featuring everything from skateboards to some girl called Twiggy, it won Fantoni TV Personality of the Year and gave him carte blanche to be pretty well whatever he wanted be, whether it be jazz musician, script writer, art critic for The Times, cartoonist or playwright. He now lives in Calais where he writes plays, books, poetry and is looking to Paris to form a theatre company.

Harry Lipkin PI by Barry FantoniBarry is now the creator of Harry Lipkin, PI: The World's Oldest Detective. In an affectionate and hilarious spoof of hard-boiled detective fiction, illustrated throughout by the author, the only private eye to keep his gun next to his false teeth at night takes on the case of a wealthy widow convinced her staff are stealing from her. The police aren't interested, but soon Harry finds himself drawn into a twilight world of boxing, gambling and gangs to find the truth.

Below, Barry recommends ten of all his all-time favourite books.

And courtesy of Barry and his publisher, Polygon, we're giving away one of Barry's original Private Eye cartoons, signed and framed; click here to enter.

 

 

Author Picks

A Moveable Feast
A Moveable Feast (Paperback)
Ernest Hemingway
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The writer recalls his time in Paris in the 1920s, in the company of other expat writers such as F Scott Fitzgerald and Gertrude Stein.
Farewell, My Lovely
Raymond Chandler; Colin Dexter
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The second outing for private eye Philip Marlowe is a masterpiece of character, dialogue and social observation.
Ezra Pound - Selected Cantos
Ezra Pound
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One of the most significant works of modernist poetry, this incomplete poem was written in 120 sections – 'cantos' – between 1915 and 1962,
The Heart of the Matter
Graham Greene; James Wood
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Often featured in lists of the most important books of the 20th century, it owes much to Green's Roman Catholic upbringing and his experiences as an intelligence officer in Sierra Leone.
Exercises in Style
Exercises in Style (Paperback)
Raymond Queneau; Barbara Wright
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The Oulipo founder tells a quotidian story of watching a man get involved in an altercation on a bus and later receiving advice about his overcoat, in ninety-nine different ways.
Most of S J Perelman
S J Perelman
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Originally compiled in 1958, this brings together the best of his surreally humorous short stories written for The New Yorker.
Of Human Bondage
Of Human Bondage (Paperback)
W. Somerset Maugham
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Maugham's semi-autobiographical masterpiece is the story of Philip Carey, an orphan eager for life, love and adventure, plunged into a masochistic relationship with a waitress.
The Complete Letters of Vincent Van...
Vincent Van Gogh
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In this three-volume box set, Van Gogh's correspondence, mostly to his brother Theo, reveals both his creative process and personal anguish.
Waiting for Godot
Waiting for Godot (Paperback)
Beckett, Samuel
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Often cited as the most important English-language play of the 20th century, Beckett's classic has been endlessly analysed; its author said only that it is about “symbiosis”.
The
Anton Chekhov; Nick Worrall; Michael...
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The Gayev family is torn by powerful forces deeply rooted in history and the society in which they live in Chekhov's final play.

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Harry Lipkin, P.I.: The World's ...
Barry Fantoni
 
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