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Berkshire author Robert Harris talks about The Ghost
By Emma Midgley
BBC Berkshire reporter

Author Harris talks on The Ghost

Kintbury writer Robert Harris' novel, The Ghost, deals with an ex-Prime Minister, who has entered an unpopular war and is writing his memoirs.

The novel has been made into a film by Roman Polanski starring Piers Brosnan and Ewan MacGregor.

Despite the obvious parallels between his novel and recent events in the UK, Mr Harris says that life has imitated art in his case.

"It's like life has imitated art over the years," he said.


"Since I wrote the novel it seems to have got more and more true."

Mr Harris said that many incidents in his book which he wrote as satire, following "disillusionment" with the Labour Government later happened.

It was great, although it did involved being photographed between Pierce Brosnan and Ewan McGregor
Robert Harris

"I certainly wasn't a supporter of the attack on Iraq. That wasn't something I felt we should be involved in. I was disillusioned with the Dr Kelly affair, the sucking up by the British Government to the Bush administration," he said.

"I was writing the book three years ago, there was no Chilcott Inquiry when I wrote the novel. There was no sale of the memoirs, there was no evidence of planes landing for rendition on British territory.

"There was no evidence of MI5 knowing about torture overseas."

Mr Harris said he had wanted to write about a ghost writer and an ex-Prime Minister for about a decade.

"There's a great theatre and drama about politics and this particular idea of a ghost writer working with an ex world leader was one I had a decade ago actually." he said.

Mr Harris said he had collaborated with Polanski for six months over the film, which he described as similar to Hitchcock.

"My model when I was writing the novel was the thrillers of Hitchcock, in particular North by Northwest," he said.

"A lot of critics have said it's like having Hitchcock back with Roman directing it the way he did."

The film premiered at the Berlin Film Festival where it won the Silver Berlin award.

"It was great, although it did involved being photographed between Pierce Brosnan and Ewan McGregor," said Mr Harris.

"They are very nice, normal nice people."

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