Wednesday, September 15, 2021

My hero / Michael Mayne by Susan Hill

 

The Very Rev Michael Mayne Photograph: Brian Smith


My hero: 

Michael Mayne

by Susan Hill

Saturday 9 October 2010


T

he Very Reverend Michael Mayne is my hero – as writer, priest, thinker, preacher, teacher, a man of many parts, all beautifully played. That phrase is apposite, given that he once thought of becoming an actor. He loved the theatre and understood its plays and its people intuitively. But the Church of England would have lost a great priest. Michael was vicar of St Mary's, Cambridge and, later, one of the great deans of Westminster. He made the abbey a place for people and their needs, not just a historical tourist destination.

His understanding of illness came through grievous personal experience. He had ME for several years and it nearly broke him, but out of it came a defining book, A Year Lost and Found, and then his presidency of the ME Association. Michael always practised as well as preached. He worked tirelessly for years for the Medical Foundation for the Victims of Torture, and with Dame Cicely Saunders in the hospice movement. But he always had time for people and their problems and he never spared himself, probably to the detriment of his own health.

His books about literature, especially poetry, art, God, the Anglican church, human life, pain, joy, the natural world, all interlinked in a great dance, are always beside my bed, and his insights into the work of George Herbert explain him and his work as few others have done.

Michael died four years ago, bravely, painfully of a facial cancer, enduring surgery and radiotherapy, and he wrote about this too in his inspiring last book, The Enduring Melody. We also had a close, private and personal link. I respected, admired, learned from and loved Michael Mayne and I miss him. But I have a sense of his continuing guidance and concern which re-assures and strengthens me every day.

THE GUARDIAN




2009
001 My hero / Oscar Wilde by Michael Holroyd
002 My hero / Harley Granville-Barker by Richard Eyre
003 My hero / Edward Goldsmith by Zac Goldsmith
004 My hero / Fridtjof Nansen by Sara Wheeler 
005 My hero / Mother Mercedes Lawler IBVM by Antonia Fraser

007 My hero / Ernest Shepard by Richard Holmes
008 My hero / JG Ballard by Will Self
009 My hero / Alan Ross by William Boyd
010 My hero / Ben the labrador by John Banville

011 My hero / Vicent van Gogh by Margaret Drabble
012 My hero / Franz Marek by Eric Hobsbawm

2010

017 My hero / Jack Yeats by Colm Tóibín
018 My hero / Francisco Goya by Diana Athill
019 My hero / Max Stafford-Clark by Sebastian Barry
020 My hero / Arthur Holmes by Richard Fortey

036 My hero / Robert Lowell by Jonathan Raban
037 My hero / Beryl Bainbridge by Michael Holroyd
038 My hero / Charles Schulz by Jenny Colgan
039 My hero / Oliver Knussen by Adam Foulds
040 My hero / Annie Proulx by Alan Warner

041 My hero / David Lynch by Paul Murray
042 My hero / Edwin Morgan by Robert Crawford
043 My hero / Anne Lister by Emma Donoghue
044 My hero / Jane Helen Harrinson by Mary Beard
045 My hero / Edmund Burke by David Marquand
046 My hero / Shelagh Deleaney by Jeanette Winterson
047 My hero / Christopher Marlowe by Val McDermid
048 My hero / Gwen John by Anne Enright
049 My hero / Michael Mayne by Susan Hill
050 My hero / Stanley Spencer by Howard Jacobson

051 My hero / William Beveridge by Will Hutton
052 My hero / Jean McConville by Amanda Foreman
053 My hero / Alexander Pushkin by Elaine Feinstein
058 My hero / Cy Twombly by Edmund de Waal

2011
079 My hero / Gene Wolfe by Neil Gaiman
087 My hero / Alberto Moravia by John Burnside
096 My hero / Isaac Babel by AD Miller
097 Lucian Freud by Esi Edugyan
100 Thomas Tranströmer by Robin Robertson
102 My hero / David Hockney by Susan Hill

2012

190 My hero / Iris Murdoch by Charlotte Mendelson
194 My hero / René Descartes by James Kelman
199 My hero / Albert Camus by Geoff Dyer

2015
2016

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