[ilds] Durrell fell foul of migrant law

Bruce Redwine bredwine1968 at earthlink.net
Fri Jun 1 08:54:09 PDT 2007

Amazing.  And here I thought the U.S. had the stupidest people working in its government.


-----Original Message-----
>From: Charles Sligh <slighcl at wfu.edu>
>Sent: Jun 1, 2007 7:24 AM
>To: ilds at lists.uvic.ca
>Subject: [ilds] Durrell fell foul of migrant law
>Here is the source of the story as I saw it way back when.  I will look forward
>to hearing more.
>Durrell fell foul of migrant law
>John Ezard
>Monday April 29, 2002
>Lawrence Durrell - one of the best selling, most celebrated English novelists of
>the late 20th century - was refused British citizenship at the height of his
>fame, it emerged yesterday.
>Durrell, author of the Alexandria Quartet, found himself caught in 1966 by a
>parliamentary act introduced with the covert aim of reducing immigration to
>Britain from India, Pakistan and the West Indies.
>In a move which alarmed and angered diplomats because of its threatened
>repercussions for the country's image, the writer, who held a British passport,
>was forced to apply for entry permits every time he wanted to visit his
>Papers just released by the public record office show that Sir Patrick Reilly,
>the ambassador in Paris, was so incensed that he wrote to his Foreign Office
>superiors: "I venture to suggest it might be wise to ensure that ministers,
>both in the Foreign Office and the Home Office, are aware that one of our
>greatest living writers in the English language is being debarred from the
>citizenship of the United Kingdom to which he is entitled.
>"It would surely make a very curious impression if it became generally known
>that he is not accepted as a citizen of the UK and that his passport carries an
>endorsement which suggests that there is something filthy about him.
>"I wonder if it is conceivable that any country in the world could allow such a
>thing to happen to a writer of worldwide reputation. Suppose one day he gets a
>Nobel prize and this story comes out. What sort of fools will we look?"
>Durrell - himself a former diplomat - was born in India to an English father and
>Anglo-Irish mother. From 1939-1945 he worked for embassies in the Mediterranean
>and for the British Council. By 1966 he had lived at Nimes, southern France,
>for eight years.
>At his peak The Alexandria Quartet led him to be praised in the US as a literary
>giant. He was paid $2,500 a week, now worth $15,000, as a Hollywood script
>But he had not been notified that he needed to register as a British citizen
>under the 1962 Commonwealth Immigration Act, introduced by Harold Macmillan's
>Conservative government. He was told the Labour home secretary in 1966, Roy
>(now Lord) Jenkins, had no power to override his exclusion.
>Durrell was a lifelong satirist of British bureaucracy and sexual puritanism.
>Untypically, he decided not to embarrass the government and obediently applied
>for entry visas whenever he visited Britain.
>Guardian Unlimited © Guardian News and Media Limited 2007
>ILDS mailing list
>ILDS at lists.uvic.ca

More information about the ILDS mailing list