Politics 6 January 2014 Christopher Hitchens: how Simon Hoggart improved my writing Hitchens told the NS in 2010 that he credited the Guardian's parliamentary sketchwriter with making his prose more stylish. Print HTML The sad news of the death of Simon Hoggart, the Guardian's superlative parliamentary sketchwriter, reminded me of my 2010 interview with the late Christopher Hitchens. During our two hour conversation at The Arch hotel in London, Hitchens mentioned that he credited Hoggart with improving his prose (Kingsley Amis, casting a critical eye over his son's friends, called him "the one who can talk but can't write"). Hitchens told me: "I think it was at dinner at his house, some time in the late Seventies, I'd written a piece in the New Statesman and Hoggart said, 'Good piece, I agree with you, you've made a strong case this week. But I thought it was a bit dull.' And I bridled, 'What do you mean, dull? I was making a strong argument for the cause of the labour movement. Dullness doesn't come into it.' He replied: 'No, the thing is it's not as amusing to read you as it is to have a conversation with you. Why don't you try and write more as you talk?' That insight stayed with me." For that, and much else, we are indebted to Hoggart. › Website generates off-the-shelf cryptocurrencies (so of course NewStatesmanCoin now exists) Simon Hoggart, who has died aged 67. George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman. Subscribe More Related articles There are sinister goings-on in the race to become the UN's next Secretary-General Ruth Davidson finished the EU referendum a star - then she lost her greatest ally Now Britain has voted for Brexit, what do David Cameron and the government do next?