Sam Youd

Today’s copy of the Guardian contains my obituary of Sam Youd, ‘John Christopher’, who died at the weekend. Like many obituaries, this was written to a tight deadline: I had less than four hours in which to research and write the piece, the research side of it being complicated by the fact that because of the heavy snow I was unable to get out of the house to consult more than the reference books I have on my shelf, and the internet.

One of the more irrelevant things I wanted to say (but lacked the space, so I suppose it was fortunate) was to remark on the weather. Sam Youd was born in a white-out blizzard in 1922; one of his best books was The World in Winter, published in a Penguin paperback during a terrible freeze in the early 1960s (I well remember buying it at an icy bookstall in Liverpool Street station); he died during the coldest weekend so far of this winter.

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