William Nicholson Biography
William Nicholson was born in 1948, and grew up in Sussex and
Gloucestershire. He was educated at Downside School and Christ's College,
Cambridge, and then joined BBC Television, where he worked as a documentary film
maker. There his ambition to write, directed first into novels, was channeled
into television drama. His plays for television include Shadowlands and Life
Story, both of which won the BAFTA Best Television Drama award in their year;
other award-winners were Sweet As You Are and The March. In 1988 he received the
Royal Television Society's Writer's Award. His first play, an adaptation of
Shadowlands for the stage, was Evening Standard Best Play of 1990, and went on
to a Tony-award winning run on Broadway. He was nominated for an Oscar for the
screenplay of the film version, which was directed by Richard Attenborough and
starred Anthony Hopkins and Debra Winger.
Since then he has written more films - Sarafina, Nell, First Knight, Grey
Owl, and Gladiator (as co-writer), for which he received a second Oscar
nomination. He has written and directed his own film, Firelight; and three
further stage plays, including Map of the Heart, Katherine Howard and The Retreat from
His novel for older children, The Wind Singer, won the Smarties Prize Gold
Award on publication in 2000, and the Blue Peter Book of the Year Award in 2001.
Its sequel, Slaves of the Mastery, was published in May 2001, and the final
volume in the trilogy, Firesong, in May 2002.
He lives in Sussex with his wife Virginia and their three children.
This biography was last updated on 07/07/2011.
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