Tom Sharpe: English author in love with Llafranc… and the Catalan Health System

Tom+SharpeThe former doctor and secretary of English satirical novelist Tom Sharpe has announced the creation of a foundation that will keep the legacy of the author in Catalonia. Sharpe was famous for writing ‘Porterhouse Blue’ as well as the ‘Wilt’ series and died in Catalonia in early June last year, where he was living since 1995.

Nonetheless, a big part of preferring life on the Costa Brava is the faith he put in the Catalan health system after he claimed he was “let down” by two British doctors.

In his will, the writer left all his manuscripts, personal correspondence, photographs and unfinished 30,000 word autobiography to his doctor and secretary, Catalan Montserrat Verdaguer. In 2001, Sharpe asked Verdaguer to “put in order” the chaos of his work so that the legacy of his writings would be preserved.

The author’s doctor has been entrusted by Sharpe with the writing of his biography and the creation of a foundation that will contain all his intellectual work. In his will, Sharpe made it clear that none of his literary heritage should be sold, “he wanted everything to be transferred to the foundation so that the centre could be a platform for young people to study”, told Verdaguer to CNA. “Since 2001 I knew I would do it one day, but the size of the task has surprised me”, she continued.

The doctor noted how she “would like the foundation to be located in Palafrugell”, the Costa Brava town where Sharpe spent the last years of his life. However, the exact final location has yet to be decided. Sharpe bought a house in the coastal village of Llafranc (which is part of Palafrugell) in 1995 after “falling in love with the sunlight and the Mediterranean sea”, according to his widow Nancy. Sharpe lived in the property since then and died peacefully on the 6th of June at the age of 85.

“A great honour”

During the past 12 years Verdaguer has been making notes on the author’s life through reading through his correspondence and re-reading all his manuscripts and works. In order to “collect all the material necessary to make a complete biography” she has also travelled to Cambridge, where Sharpe studied, and South Africa, where he lived during the 1950s and fought against the Apartheid regime. In his will, Sharpe left his property and economic assets to his widow and family, while Verdaguer received his complete literary works among other things. The doctor stated how “for me it is a great honour to be chosen to receive all his manuscripts, photographs, typewriters and cameras”.

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