Will Self backs out of talks to be Radio 4’s writer-in-residence

R4 controller Gwyneth Williams had wanted Self for the role - but she now has to find someone else, RadioTimes.com can reveal

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There’s a Will for a Radio 4 writer but not a Self.

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Radio Times.com can reveal that the celebrated author Will Self has stepped back from negotiations over becoming the network’s writer in residence.

The station’s controller Gwyn Williams had, it emerged in January, been talking to novelist Will Self about the new post in which he would have been expected to blog and write about the station’s output and to act as a champion and creative figurehead for the station.

Williams had said in January that she wants somebody who can offer an “independent and creative mind” as well as bringing “passion” to the job and had identified self as the man for the post.

However sources at the station have confirmed that he won’t be doing it after all.

“It was his decision and of course we want his fans to know that he will continue to pop up on Radio 4 regularly,” said a source at the station which declined to comment on who is being spoken to. “But he won’t be writer-in-residence.”

It is understood that Self was partly angry that news of the talks had leaked, although it is unclear how much this influenced his decision to withdraw.

A spokeswoman said that someone else will be found and that Williams was talking to other writers.

The appointment is part of Williams’ drive to increase arts coverage on Radio 4, in order to make it what she says will be a “playground for creative minds”.

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This includes a number of policy initiatives including a £1m tie-up with the London-based arts organisation Artangel to find up to five new public art projects and a talent search for aspiring fiction authors called So You Want To Be a Writer.