Bruce Chatwin

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Remembering Bruce Chatwin

Today marks the 25th anniversary of Bruce Chatwin's death in a hospital in Nice, at the age of only 48. He was tragically young, but, as he wrote in "The Nomadic Alternative", one’s quality of life is not strictly determined by the number of years lived: ‘The aim is to live out each stage to the full, and it is immaterial whether the life journey takes fifty or a hundred years to complete’.
In the last twelve years of his life, he produced five astonishing and original works which continue to resonate with readers today, as this weekend's commemoration at Chatwin's alma mater, Marlborough College, proved. Sixth Form students had been reading and discussing his work in the preceding weeks, and were articulate and interested in the responses to talks by myself, Susannah Clapp and Nicholas Murray. One, in response to my query as to whether she believed literally in Chatwin's theory that humans are predisposed to a life of travel, told me: 'No. But I'd like to.'