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The writer who wasn’t there

Graham Swift is one of Britain's most successful living literary authors. Yet in a new collection of non-fiction the man himself is almost invisible

Making an Elephant By Graham Swift (Picador, £18.99)

There is a famous photograph, taken by Lord Snowdon in 1983, of Granta magazine’s first cohort of “best young British novelists.” Ian McEwan and Martin Amis, their shoulders rubbing collusively, are perched on stools slightly to one side, as if in premonitory acknowledgment of future distinction. Julian Barnes stands in the middle, at the back, powerfully projecting every inch of his 6ft-odd frame. And at the front, beside a startlingly youthful-looking Kazuo Ishiguro, sits the shyly bespectacled Graham Swift.

That same year, Swift was shortlisted for the Booker prize, for his third…

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