Jack Reacher creator Lee Child is looking to secure Irish nationality because Britain is “a silly and frustrating country” and he claims the new passport would ensure free access to the European Union without restraint.
The British author, whose real name is James Grant, is one of the best selling writers in the world with sales of close to 100 million books recorded. He is in the process of applying for a passport as his father was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
“I haven’t got the passport yet but I will do very soon, it feels like I’m cheating to be honest as I will get in the back door,” he was quoted as saying in the Irish Times on Monday.
“I am not a huge fan of Britain even though I was born there,” he added. “It’s a silly and frustrating country, which is why I moved to America.”
Child, who was born in Coventry, England, was speaking in Berlin on a four-city trip as part of a European ‘Friendship Tour’ with three other British writers — Kate Mosse, Jojo Moyes and Ken Follett.
They are speaking against Britain’s departure from the E.U., which Prime Minister Boris Johnson wants before January 31 — as he strives to win a clear majority at a general election next month.
The author said Johnson, who went to Eton College and Oxford University, was the product of privilege and an elitist system.
“If he had gone to my school, he would not now be prime minister,” he added.
Child was asked what would happen if his protagonist — an ex-U.S. military turned crime investigator — was locked with Johnson in an isolated farmhouse for a weekend.
“Only one of them would come out of it alive, and it wouldn’t be Boris,” he said.
The British literature heavyweight, who sells one of his crime books every 13 seconds, was honoured by Queen Elizabeth II in June with the CBE.
He has not indicated if he will return it now he is turning his back on the country of his birth.
For her part, Moyes was equally scathing of Brexit saying it did not address people’s “feelings.”
She told the newspaper their European tour is about “reaffirming our emotional, cultural and spiritual links to the rest of Europe, a way of feeling less powerless against the politicians making a terrible mess”.
One of the under-reported Brexit risks, Mosse warned, is a “draining away” of European cultural exchange, with Britain left standing alone rather than being enriched by traveling bands of actors, writers and artists.
“We will survive but what about flourishing?” she asked. “We should be flying and singing, not just bobbing along.”
AFP contributed to this report