About The Author
Barry 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.
Barry 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.