Booker Prize-winning author Ian McEwan (pictured left) has gone into hiding from the media after a Youtube clip showed him drunkenly scuffling with Australian novelist Peter Carey (pictured right) in a Walkabout pub.
Carey then reportedly brought the house down by dropping his trousers to reveal likenesses of his two Booker Prize statuettes - for Oscar and Lucinda and True History of the Kelly Gang.
"Macca should have seen that one coming," said Birdsong author Sebastian Faulks, who conceded that all of their 12-strong literary "firm" had been "steaming drunk. Some of us were well into our third pint by then.
"Carey's wind-up sent Macca ballistic. He started shouting something about two-for-one deals in Waterstone's and the net book agreement. At one point he had to be held back by Mark Lawson and Andrew Motion.
"But Mac had the last laugh when he dug out his cheque for the film rights to Atonement and waved it in Carey's Aussie chops. Apart from Oscar and Lucinda, which was a right flop, none of Carey’s stuff has made it to the big screen. Macca tucked the cheque in Carey's shirt pocket and said: 'Get yourself a drink, Pete'. That sent Carey's mob wild.
“[Last Orders author] Graham Swift managed to calm things down a bit, but it all kicked off again when some Aussie started shouting that Remains of the Day was a girls' book. Kazuo
“Ishiguro had been quietly nursing a WKD until then, but he put down the slim volume of new Japanese fiction he'd been reading and waded in."
Ugly scenes at TGI Friday's
As bouncers tried to separate the groups, Carey turned his attentions to (Irish writer and 2005 Booker winner John Banville), taunting him with: "You could walk into every book club in England with your name on a ******* T-shirt and they still wouldn't know who you were, cobber."
There has been bad feeling between McEwan and Carey since the latter's True History of the Kelly Gang pipped Atonement to the post in 2001. A literary source said the feud has threatened to "go nuclear, all the way - maybe even an exchange of e-mails".
McEwan's self-styled literary "rat pack" is unlikely to win public sympathy over the incident, as police had earlier been called to TGI Friday's in Covent Garden, where a fight had broken out between Faulks and a customer who had pronounced his surname “Falks” instead of the correct “Folks”.
After officers left, McEwan reportedly set fire to a “house” of beermats before disrupting a children's party by squaring up to a member of staff dressed as a wizard and shouting: "Look at me, I'm Harry Potter, look at me, I'm Harry Potter, look at me, I'm Harry Potter."
Witnesses claim he then stole a clown's car from another party "to drive it into the gates at No.10 and end this coalition nightmare once and for all". He was said to have eventually given up after managing to travel just 30ft in an hour.Tweet