Michael Cox Biography
Michael Cox was born in Northamptonshire in 1948. After graduating from Cambridge in 1971, he went into the music business as a songwriter and recording artist, releasing two albums and a number of singles for EMI under the name Matthew Ellis and a further album, as Obie Clayton, for the DJM label. In 1977, he took a job in publishing, with the Thorsons Publishing Group (now part of HarperCollins). In 1989, he joined Oxford University Press, where he became Senior Commissioning Editor, Reference Books.
His first book, a widely praised biography of the scholar and ghost-story writer M.R. James, was published by OUP in 1983. This was followed by a number of Oxford anthologies of short fiction, including The Oxford Book of English Ghost Stories (1986) and The Oxford Book of Victorian Ghost Stories (1991), both co-edited with R.A. Gilbert, The Oxford Book of Victorian Detective Stories (1992), and The Oxford Book of Spy Stories (1997). In 1991 he compiled A Dictionary of Writers and their Works for OUP and in 2002 The Oxford Chronology of English Literature, a major scholarly resource containing bibliographical information on 30,000 titles from 4,000 authors, 14742000.
In April 2004, he began to lose his sight as a result of cancer. In
preparation for surgery he was prescribed a steroidal drug, one of the effects of which was to initiate a temporary burst of mental and
physical energy. This, combined with the stark realization that his
blindness might return if the treatment wasn't successful, spurred
Michael finally to begin writing in earnest the novel that he had been
contemplating for over thirty years, and which up to then had only
existed as a random collection of notes, drafts, and discarded first
chapters. Following surgery, work continued on what is now The Meaning of Night, and in January 2005, after a hotly contested UK auction, it was sold to John Murray.
The Glass of Time, a sequel to The Meaning of Night was published in 2008.
He died in March 2009 at the age of 60. The cause was hemangiopericytoma, a rare vascular cancer.
This biography was last updated on 04/18/2009.
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