‘Hell and slander’: Hunter S Thompson’s letters to childhood friend to be sold

Correspondence cache records early adventures with Hell’s Angels and tracks the emergence of his signature gonzo style

A stash of 180 letters from Hunter S Thompson to a childhood friend, recording how a struggling writer unable to pay his bills became the gonzo journalist who would declare that “I am not going to be either the Fitzgerald or the Hemingway of this generation … I am going to be the Thompson of this generation”, is to be sold at auction.

Spanning hundreds of pages, the letters were written to Thompson’s friend Paul Semonin, beginning in February 1955 when Thompson was 17 and ending in 1974. The letters are set to be sold by Nate D Sanders Auctions in Los Angeles on 27 September, with bidding set to open at $110,000 (£84,000).

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