Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Sideways to success

Rex Pickett, author of the novel Sideways, tells Oliver Burkeman in The Guardian about his struggle to get the book published and how it came to be made into an award-winning film.
In the mid-1990s, Rex Pickettconsidered himself a failure: a never-published novelist, depressed, penniless and miserably divorced, who used an interest in wine to mask what was really, if we're being honest about it, a drinking problem.

And so, with nothing left to lose, he wrote Sideways, a novel about a never-published author, depressed, divorced, and drinking too much, who takes his closest friend - a hopeless womaniser who's about to get married - on a pre-wedding wine tour that almost ends in catastrophe. Most of that really happened, too.

The main difference is that Miles, the central character in Sideways, never does get his book published. Whereas Sideways itself was made into a film, released in the UK last weekend, critically adored, and has now been nominated for the Oscar for Best Picture.

"It has changed my life a little bit," Pickett says, with a hint of sardonic understatement. "I drive a car now that, when you get in it, it smells like it's going to start."

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