David Mitchell was born in Southport in 1969 and grew up in Malvern,
Worcestershire. He studied for a degree in English and American Literature
followed by an MA in Comparative Literature, at the University of Kent. He lived
for a year in Sicily before moving to Hiroshima, Japan, where he taught English
to technical students for eight years, before returning to England.
His first novel, Ghostwritten, was published in 1999, it tells the story of nine narrators in nine locations across the globe who tell interlocking stories. It won the Mail on Sunday/John Llewellyn Rhys Prize and was shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award.
His second novel, number9dream (2001), was shortlisted for the 2002 Man Booker Prize for fiction. It is set in modern day Tokyo and tells the story of Eiji Miyake's search for his father.
In 2003 Granta magazine named David Mitchell one of twenty 'Best of Young British Novelists'. In his latest novel, Cloud Atlas (2004), a young Pacific islander witnesses the nightfall of science and civilisation, while questions of history are explored in a series of seemingly disconnected narratives. Cloud Atlas was shortlisted for the 2004 Man Booker Prize for Fiction. Black Swan Green was published in 2006.
He lives in Ireland.
This biography was last updated on 05/24/2010.
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In two separate pieces David Mitchell explains why he "didn't set out to write a historical novel just for the heck of it" and talks about his first novel, Ghostwritten, revealing
some of the real-life people who inspired his characters.
An Essay by David Mitchell
"I didn't set out to write a historical novel just for the heck of ityou'd have to be mad."
Around Christmas in 1994 in Nagasaki I got off at a wrong tram-stop and stumbled upon a greenish moat and cluster of warehouses from an earlier century. This was my first encounter with Dejima, the Dutch East India Company's furthest-flung trading "factory" and its most exclusive bragging point: during the two and a half centuries of Japan's isolation, this man-made island in Nagasaki harbor, no bigger than Trafalgar Square, was the sole point of contact with the West. Dejima went to seed after the Japanese opened up other ports to international trade from the 1850s onwards, but a full-scale reconstruction is now underway. (No mean feat of engineering, thisreclamation projects have pushed the shoreline hundreds of yards away.) Back in 1994 I wasn't a published writer, but the place crackled with fictional ...
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