Hampstead and Highgate ‘literati’ defended against snobbery charge from Daphne du Maurier’s son

17:00 17 April 2014

Daphne du Maurier

Daphne du Maurier


A fellow of the Royal Society of Literature has rejected claims from the son of Daphne du Maurier that the “literati” of Hampstead and Highgate are guilty of snobbishness towards popular authors.

Daphne Du Maurier plaque at Cannon Cottage in Well Road, HampsteadDaphne Du Maurier plaque at Cannon Cottage in Well Road, Hampstead

Kits Browning, the only son of the Rebecca writer, has accused the literary circles of these parts of unfairly dismissing writers who achieve mass popularity, both today and in his mother’s time.

Speaking before a three-part BBC One adaptation of du Maurier’s Jamaica Inn begins on Monday, he told the Radio Times: “The Hampstead/Highgate literati of critics totally dismissed mum just as they do with best-selling authors today.”

However, former BBC radio producer Piers Plowright, fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and one of the organisers of the Hampstead Arts Festival – who was born a few streets away from du Maurier’s former Hampstead home in Well Road – has denied the charge.

He told Heathman: “I enormously admire Daphne du Maurier. What I think he’s getting at is this feeling that there’s a group scoffing at novelists who are popular and tell great stories, but I think it’s a rather sweeping criticism.

“Hampstead has become a catch-all phrase for a certain type of snootiness, but there isn’t any more literary snobbery in Hampstead than anywhere else.

“It’s something that runs through literary people everywhere – but we have got better over the years.”

He added: “I live in Hampstead and I like books, but I would not want to think of myself as part of any literati.”

Latest News Stories

Yesterday, 17:40
Ofsted chief inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw. Picture: Joe Giddens

Camden’s primary schools are among the best performing in England – but its secondary schools are still lagging behind neighbouring London boroughs, Ofsted’s annual report reveals today.

Yesterday, 16:47
Yolanda Kenyi with the first gift as part of Highgate's live advent calendar project at Postal Plus in Aylmer Parade. Picture: Nigel Sutton

A privately-run post office kicked off Highgate’s live advent calendar on the first day of December.

Yesterday, 16:00
Archway Resource Centre, on Waterlow Road, provides an irreplaceable setting of community

Eight charities fear for their futures after being evicted from their low-rent premises.

Yesterday, 15:24
Smash and grab raiders were unaware they were being followed by police

Two moped riders who were carrying out a smash and grab burglary at a Hampstead convenience store were unaware police were tracking their every move.

Yesterday, 12:19
Tulip Siddiq is set to vote against bombing Syria

Hampstead and Kilburn MP Tulip Siddiq said she was likely to vote against the package of measures that Prime Minister David Cameron introduced to the Commons last week.

Mon, 17:56
Squatters at 156 West End Lane in West Hampstead are evicted

Squatters have left empty former council offices in West Hampstead peacefully on Saturday morning after bailiffs arrived.

Mon, 15:11
Evidence for the trial

A woman from Crouch Hill has been disqualified from owning animals for life after keeping dogs in cages stacked on top of each other nearly every day.

Mon, 14:03
Claudia Tabitha, 23, Big Issue vendor. Photo: Polly Hancock

A pregnant Big Issue vendor has been overwhelmed by generous offers of support from local parents.

Most read news

Property Newsletter Sign-up

Get the latest North London property news and features straight to your inbox with our regular newsletter

I am also happy to receive other emails...
Fields marked with a * are mandatory
Email Marketing by e-shot


Win a beautiful monochrome tunic dress with Great British Life!

Great British Life is offering a beautiful monochrome silk tunic dress worth £179 to one lucky reader

Nike Trainers

Nike’s motto is ‘to bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world.’ With this in mind it’s no surprise why Nike is the preferred training gear for most A-list athletes. Get an extra boost in your run or height in your jump with £500 to spend on Nike trainers.

Digital Edition

Read the Hampstead & Highgate Express e-edition today E-edition
Family Notices 24

Local business directory

Our trusted business finder