P. D. James Quotes

I don’t think writers choose the genre, the genre chooses us. I wrote out of the wish to create order out of disorder, the liking of a pattern.

Generosity is a virtue for individuals, not governments. When governments are generous it is with other people’s money, other people’s safety, other people’s future.

I believe that political correctness can be a form of linguistic fascism, and it sends shivers down the spine of my generation who went to war against fascism.

It is always easy to question the judgement of others in matters of which we may be imperfectly informed.

Increase your word power. Words are the raw material of our craft. The greater your vocabulary the more ­effective your writing. We who write in English are fortunate to have the richest and most versatile language in the world. Respect it.

It’s possible to fight intolerance, stupidity and fanaticism when they come separately. When you get all three together it’s probably wiser to get out, if only to preserve your sanity.

Write what you need to write, not what is currently popular or what you think will sell.

A nation that can’t remember its dead will soon cease to be worth dying for.

Don’t just plan to write – write. It is only by writing, not dreaming about it, that we develop our own style.

It shows considerable wisdom to know what you want in life and then to direct all your energies towards getting it.

When I heard, Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall, I thought, Did he fall or was he pushed?

Creativity doesn’t flourish in an atmosphere of despotism, coercion and fear.

We can experience nothing but the present moment, live in no other second of time, and to understand this is as close as we can get to eternal life.

What the detective story is about is not murder but the restoration of order.

It was one of those perfect English autumnal days which occur more frequently in memory than in life.

however long we have to live, there are never enough springs.

I don’t see why escapist literature shouldn’t also be a work of art.

The greatest mystery of all is the human heart.

Books of quotations … afford me one of the most undemanding but satisfying forms of reading pleasure.

Not so much two ships passing in the night as two ships sailing together for a time but always bound for different ports.

I can understand the poor and stupid voting for Marxism or one of its fashionable variants. If you’ve no hope of being other than a slave, you may as well opt for the most efficient form of slavery.

to look back on one’s life is to experience the capriciousness of memory. … the past is not static. It can be relived only in memory, and memory is a device for forgetting as well as remembering. It, too, is not immutable. It rediscovers, reinvents, reorganizes. Like a passage of prose it can be revised and repunctuated. To that extent, every autobiography is a work of fiction and every work of fiction an autobiography.

All fiction is largely autobiographical and much autobiography is, of course, fiction.

The modern holy trinity is money, sex and celebrity.

We live in a society which salves its conscience more by helping the interestingly unfortunate than the dull deserving.