Monday, April 20, 2009

JG Ballard – 1930-2009


After a long illness JG Ballard died yesterday. He will be truly missed.

Of course he was one of Britain’s greatest modern writers but will be remembered by many for Empire of the Sun, the fictionalized account of his own childhood in a Shanghai (Lunghwa) internment camp. Steven Spielberg turned the novel into a 1987 film, which was nominated for six Oscars, and as far as movie versions of books go wasn’t bad at all.


Born in Shanghai on November 15, 1930, Ballard was the son of a British executive. He was growing up in the city’s privileged expatriate community when the Japanese invaded. At the age of 12, he was interned with his mother and father in a camp where he would spend two and a half years.


Recently Ballard had written again about Shanghai in his autobiography Miracles of Life: Shanghai to Shepperton.


For those interested the former Ballard family still stands and is now a restaurant on Panyu Lu near the corner with Xinhua Road. I can’t recommend the food but a stroll by to doff your cap in respect is in order if in you are in the area.

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