John Le Carré: Spy author’s letters and unpublished work could be released

John Le Carré left behind unpublished work which could be released, his agent has revealed.

Speaking at the Cheltenham Literature Festival, Jonny Geller said a book of Le Carré’s "amazing letters" was already in the works, with the author having been working on "other things" in the year before his death.

Silverview, Le Carré’s final novel, was published on Thursday to warm reviews, 11 months after his death at the age of 89. It tells the story of a City financier who escapes to the East Anglian coast to open a bookshop, only to be sucked into the secret world of espionage.

‘He wrote amazing letters to everyone… that will be a wonderful book’

Asked whether there were more posthumous works in the pipeline, Mr Geller said: "There are things. There’s definitely something that’s tangible that’s in the works, which is his letters, which are incredible. 

"He wrote amazing letters to everyone, so that will be a wonderful book, and there were things he was working on that I knew about in the last year, and we will see."

Mr Geller was Le Carré’s literary agent for the final decade and a half of his career and is now the chief executive of the Curtis Brown Group, a literary and talent agency.

Le Carré, whose real name was David Cornwell, wrote Silverview between 2013 and 2014 with the intention of publishing it immediately. Upon completing the manuscript, however, he appeared to have a change of heart.  

Mr Geller told the festival that, in October 2014, "I was expecting this manuscript and instead I got a letter and the letter basically said I’ve decided not to give you this book and I don’t think the timing is right, and don’t worry – if you want to publish it after my death, talk to my sons and you have my blessing".

Le Carré, whose most famous works include Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy and The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, would not even let Mr Geller  read the manuscript because he was worried he "would like it".

Mr Geller said it was "a mystery" to both him and Le Carré’s family why the author did not want the book to be published during his lifetime, but speculated that it might have been because it was harsher about the value and ethics of espionage than usual.

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