Colleagues, admirers and close acquaintances of the late, celebrated writer share their thoughts online
The death of Christopher Hitchens — the sharp, controversial and almost unbelievably prolific journalist and commentator — sent admirers into mourning, caused the New York Times to redraw its Friday front page, and inspired friends and colleagues to take to TV, radio and the Internet to express their appreciation and grief. Here are links to some of the most notable tributes we’ve found:
- Many of Hitchens’ friends, colleagues and admirers have commented on his passing on Slate. Novelist Julian Barnes recounts a “cruel” but ultimately “useful” lesson from the master writer. James Fenton reflects on “the deep significance becoming an American citizen held for [Hitchens].” (“I hadn’t realized the need Christopher felt to belong to something. He was far too satirical to show it.”) Guardian columnist Alexander Chancellor adds: “The appeal of brilliant contrarianism knows no boundaries.”
- In a BBC interview, novelist Ian McEwan shares memories of his friend — including an anecdote from Hitchens’ book tour in the Bible Belt. (“Colossal crowds would turn out to greet him enthusiastically, and many would say … ‘Thank you for coming; we are not only the Bible Belt. There are many rational people down here who also believe that religion is a man-made thing.”)
- In the same interview, British Labour politician Denis McShane offers Hitchens high praise: “[Hitchens] was the greatest English journalist in America — I think even bigger than Alastair Cooke, and that’s saying something.”
- Salman Rushdie tweeted: “Goodbye, my beloved friend. A great voice falls silent. A great heart stops. Christopher Hitchens, April 13, 1949-December 15, 2011.” Stephen Fry — another super-Twitterer — added: “Goodbye, Christopher Hitchens. You were envied, feared, adored, reviled and loved. Never ignored. Never bested. A great and marvellous man.”
- On Vanity Fair’s website, editor Graydon Carter writes: “[Hitchens] was a man of insatiable appetites — for cigarettes, for scotch, for company, for great writing, and, above all, for conversation. That he had an output to equal what he took in was the miracle in the man.”
- GQ has published thoughts from a number of Hitchens’ colleagues, including Simon Schama and Hugo Rifkind. “We took to each other fast but he fell really hard for my dog, a handsome Welsh Springer with a tragic air called Morgan,” Schama writes of his first meeting with Hitchens. “Hitchens was one of the very few writers (the only others who spring to mind are Winston Churchill and Douglas Adams; there must be more) who have said something brilliant about almost everything,” Rifkind adds.
- “How did we become such friends?” Christopher Buckley asks in a New Yorker essay — before answering that question many times over. “Everything [Hitchens] said was brilliant. It was a feast of reason and a flow of soul, and, if the author of ‘God Is Not Great’ did not himself believe in the concept of soul, he sure had one, and it was a great soul.”
- Finally, writing in The Nation, D.D. Guttenplan articulates a sentiment many Hitchens-lovers will no doubt share: “By no means the least of the consolations now available to the unbeliever, and to those who live outside the lines of conventional virtue, is the thought that if we turn out to be mistaken in our Cartesian wagers, and find ourselves in the long, long chute to a smoke-and-brimstone filled afterlife, Christopher will be there at the bottom to welcome us with a drink and, why not, a cigarette.”
More Related Stories
- What's 2013's "Gone Girl"? Here are this summer's best reads
- Fox executive behind "Does Someone Have to Go?" leaving the network
- Hillary Clinton memoir shows up on Amazon
- A brief history of Jennifer Weiner's literary fights
- First look: Joaquin Phoenix, Marion Cotillard shine in "The Immigrant”
- No women allowed: Summer music festivals are dudefests, again
- Vivica A. Fox tapes anti-gun PSA in front of poster for her movie
- This is what Guy Fieri looks like as a balloon
- Mariah Carey's rambling, cursing, dress-popping "Good Morning America" concert
- Fox's new reality TV show threatens regular people with unemployment
- Amanda Bynes arrested after hurling bong from window
- Steamy lesbian-sex movie has Cannes abuzz
- Stop what you're doing and go watch "Borgen"
- Teenage girl claims she was beaten up for looking like Taylor Swift
- Mike Judge: "Bowling for Columbine" made me pro-gun
- New York chef serves up eight-course meal around "Arrested Development" jokes
- HLN: Jodi Arias "pleading for her life" got us a ratings win!
- Michael Ian Black on Maron feud: He "considered me a poseur"
- Chekhov's story mirrors Russia's own
- Pussy Riot member Maria Alyokhina denied parole
- Joe Francis apologizes for calling jury "retarded"
Featured Slide Shows
The week in 10 picsclose X
- 1 of 11
Lisa Montgomery embraces her nephew Thursday after a tornado tore apart her home in Cleburne, Texas. The twister killed six people and destroyed entire swaths of the North Texas town.
Credit: AP/LM Otero
Jack McMahon, the defense attorney for abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell, speaks outside the Criminal Justice Center in Philadelphia Tuesday. His client was convicted of killing three babies in his clinic, and will serve multiple life sentences.
Credit: AP/Matt Rourke
A photo taken Monday captures Vice President Joe Biden's response to a Milwaukee second-grader's innovative proposal to end America's epidemic of gun violence. This guy!
Credit: AP/Jenny Aicher
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., flanked by a grouper-eyed Michele Bachmann, addresses the IRS' admission that it targeted Tea Party groups in advance of the 2012 election. In an op-ed for CNN Thursday, the Kentucky senator slammed the president for his faux outrage.
Credit: AP/Molly Riley
Ousted IRS chief Steven Miller is sworn in on Capitol Hill Friday. Miller testified before the House Ways and Means Committee on the extra scrutiny the agency gave conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status.
Credit: AP/J. Scott Applewhite
Attorney General Eric Holder pauses as he testifies on Capitol Hill before the House Judiciary Committee Wednesday. Holder is under fire, among other things, for the Justice Department's gathering of phone records at the Associated Press.
Credit: AP/Carolyn Kaster
O.J. Simpson sits during an evidentiary hearing at Clark County District Court in Las Vegas, Nev., Thursday. Simpson, who is currently serving a nine-to-33-year sentence in state prison for armed robbery and kidnapping, is using a writ of habeas corpus to seek a new trial.
Credit: AP/Las Vegas Review-Journal/Jeff Scheid
Major Tom to ground control: On Sunday astronaut Chris Hadfield recorded the first music video from space, a cover of David Bowie's "Space Oddity."
Credit: AP/NASA/Chris Hadfield
When it rains it pours. President Barack Obama speaks during a news conference Thursday with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, inexplicably inspiring an #umbrellagate Twitter meme.
Credit: AP/Jacquelyn Martin
A smoke plume rises high above a road block at the intersection of County A and Ross Road east of Solon Springs, Wis., Tuesday. No injuries were reported, but the the wildfire caused evacuations across northwestern Wisconsin.
Credit: AP/The Duluth News-Tribune/Clint Austin
Recent Slide Shows
- 1 of 11