Chance, Luck and Destiny

Boston Globe-Hornbook Prize for Non-fiction: Winner

About the Book

Collection of original material, prose and verse, fact and fiction, on the themes of the title.

Author Comment

My UK editor, Joanna Goldsworthy, asked if I’d like to do a short non-fiction book about chance and luck. I’m very interested in the subject, but not enough of a coherent thinker to do a straight treatise. A sort of scrap-book was an obvious solution, and since I’m also hopeless at research it was much easier for me to use fiction and verse to illustrate some of the points. I threw in Destiny, which is the opposite of chance, to make a more resonant title; and magic, because that’s an attempt to defy the randomness of chance and luck; and to give the whole thing some kind of structure I threaded a re-telling of the Oedipus legend through it. It’s still a bit scrappy, and parts of it work better than others, but there’s a fair amount there that I’m still pleased with.


Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for Non-fiction - 1975


A splendid companion book The Junior Bookshelf


Gollancz, UK - 1975

Little Brown, US - 1976