Sue Prideaux, whose biography of Strindberg has just been longlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize, reflects on a memorable year for art and biography

Strindberg: A Life has been chosen as one of the 14 titles on the Longlist for the 2012 Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction, the prize that, as the organisers say, aims to highlight books that bring fascinating non-fiction subjects to a wide audience.  

I am delighted that my biography of August Strindberg is on the Longlist for 2012, the year that marks the centenary of his death.  The announcement of the Longlist comes in the week when Juliette Binoche opens in Mademoiselle Julie at the Barbican Theatre, a coincidence that might have made a profound impression on Strindberg who was very fond of pretty actresses – he married two.

It has been an eventful year so far, with the launch of  Strindberg in March going straight into the sale of The Screamwhich kept me busy writing for Sotheby’s in preparation and other publications.  [Read recent news about The Scream].

The week of the sale I was in New York and got acquainted with exactly what Andy Warhol meant by fifteen minutes of fame.  Never before has The Sun wanted to interview me.  Never again either, I suspect.  This is a picture I took as I was on my way to the sale (see above).  Sotheby’s had somehow projected The Scream onto the side of the building.  They’ve never done that before.  It was oddly moving to see it shining so bright through the  grey evening  drizzle, knowing how poor and miserable Munch had been when he made the picture and seeing the  paparazzi  in a feeding frenzy over the huge amount of money it was expected to fetch.

Sue Prideaux is author of Strindberg: A Life and Edvard Munch: Behind the Scream, both published by Yale.

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