Page last updated at 09:08 GMT, Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Updike's "diary-like" last works

John Updike
Updike's subject was the American small town, Protestant middle class

The final works of John Updike, who died in January at the age of 76, will be published later this year.

The author wrote the Endpoint suite, as he approached death and in one poem, Requiem, he speculates on the public reaction to his passing.

The verses were sent to his publisher only weeks before the author's death.

Updike's UK editor, Simon Prosser, hopes the "beautiful and very moving sequence" will be on sale here close to US publication date of March 21.

"They are almost diary-like in the way that they reflect on his cancer diagnosis, the things and people he loved, his history and experience as a writer, and the world around him", Prosser added.


John Updike's death from lung cancer earlier this year prompted a flurry of tributes from the literary community.

The author of the quartet of books about Harry "Rabbit" Angstrom was labelled "the greatest novelist writing in English at the time of his death" by Ian McEwan.

Updike wrote poetry throughout his life although it never brought him the same acclaim as the prose which twice won him a Pulitzer prize. He published his first collection, The Ex Basketball Player, in 1957.

Short stories

This year will also see the publication of Updike's first new collection of short stories since 2000.

My Father's Tears dwells on the themes of old age.

It includes three tales about high school reunions - Fiftieth, The Road Home and The Walk with Elizanne, where the character Mamie has no fear of death despite having terminal cancer.

Updike's UK publishers say they are aiming to publish the poetry collection at the same time as its US release. My Father's Tears will be published in June on both sides of the Atlantic.

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