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William Boyd biography

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William Boyd
Eamonn McCabe

William Boyd

William Boyd Biography

William Boyd has received world-wide acclaim for his novels. They are: A Good Man in Africa (1981, winner of the Whitbread Award and the Somerset Maugham Prize) An Ice Cream War (1982, shortlisted for the 1982 Booker Prize and winner of the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize), Stars and Bars (1984), The New Confessions (1987), Brazzaville Beach (1990, winner of the McVitie Prize and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize) The Blue Afternoon (1993, winner of the 1993 Sunday Express Book of the Year Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Award for Fiction, 1995), Armadillo (1998) and Any Human Heart (2002, winner of the Prix Jean Monnet). His novels and stories have been published around the world and have been translated into over thirty languages.  He is also the author of a collection of screenplays and a memoir of his schooldays, School Ties (1985); and three collections of short stories: On the Yankee Station (1981), The Destiny of Nathalie 'X' (1995) and Fascination (2004). He also wrote the speculative memoir of his schooldays, School Ties (1985); three collections of short stories: On the Yankee Station (1981), The Destiny of Nathalie 'X' (1995) and Fascination (2004). He also wrote the speculative memoir Nat Tate: an American Artist -- the publication of which, in the spring of 1998, caused something of a stir on both sides of the Atlantic. A collection of his non-fiction writings, 1978-2004, entitled Bamboo, was published in October 2005. His ninth novel, Restless, was published in September 2006 (Costa Book Award, Novel of the Year 2006) and his tenth novel, Ordinary Thunderstorms, published September 2009. His most recent novel is Waiting For Sunrise which published in February 2011.

Born in Accra, Ghana, in 1952, Boyd grew up there and in Nigeria.  He was educated at Gordonstoun School and attended the universities of Nice (Diploma of French Studies) and Glasgow (M.A.Hons in English and Philosophy) and Jesus College, Oxford, where he studied for a D.Phil in English Literature. He was also a lecturer in English Literature at St. Hilda's College, Oxford, from 1980-83. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and an Officier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. He has been presented with honorary Doctorates in Literature from the universities of St. Andrews, Stirling, Glasgow and Dundee. In 2005 he was awarded the CBE.

His screenwriting credits include Stars and Bars (1987, dir. Pat O'Connor), Mr Johnson (1990, dir. Bruce Beresford), Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter (1990, dir. Jon Amiel), Chaplin (1992, dir. Richard Attenborough) A Good Man in Africa (1993, dir. Bruce Beresford), The Trench (1999, which Boyd also directed) and Man to Man (2005, dir. Régis Wargnier).  He adapted Evelyn Waugh's Scoop for television (1988) and also Waugh's Sword of Honour trilogy (2001). His own three-part adaptation of his novel Armadillo was screened on BBC 1 in 2001 and on A&E in the US in 2002. His film about Shakespeare and his sonnets — A Waste of Shame -- was made in 2005 for BBC 4. He has written two original TV films about boarding-school life in England -- Good and Bad at Games (1983) and Dutch Girls (1985). He adapted his own novel Any Human Heart into a four-part drama for Channel 4 in 2010, which garnered much critical acclaim.

He is married and divides his time between London and South West France.

William Boyd's website

This bio was last updated on 10/01/2018. In a perfect world, we would like to keep all of BookBrowse's biographies up to date, but with many thousands of lives to keep track of it's simply impossible to do. So, if the date of this bio is not recent, you may wish to do an internet search for a more current source, such as the author's website or social media presence. If you are the author or publisher and would like us to update this biography, send the complete text and we will replace the old with the new.

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Interview

Sara Nelson talks with William Boyd about Sweet Caress, why he enjoys writing "full-life novels", and how he considers this book to be the third panel of a tryptich: New Confessions, Any Human Heart and Sweet Caress

One of the reasons I knew that my best friend Jessie was going to be my best friend, and that Sam was going to be my husband was because early on in both relationships, we shared a secret: we were both crazy about the British author William Boyd.  Specifically, in the case of Sam, we bonded over Boyd's 2001 novel, Any Human Heart, the story of the 20th century through the eyes of an ordinary British man living  through it. 

So when Sweet Caress landed on my desk, and its editor told me that Boyd's latest novel was in "Any Human Heart" territory, I was especially motivated to read it. Like Any Human Heart – and like another of Boyd's great novels, The New Confessions – it is the story of a time and many places, as experienced by a specific character, in this case a female photographer named Amory Clay.  Born in the first decade of the 20th century, Amory – whose father named her that because he'd really wanted a son -- grows up to be independent-minded and ambitious. She travels the world – from 1930s Germany to New York to the battlefields of WWII and ultimately Viet Nam – living her life, telling stories through her photos. An added element to ...

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Books by this Author

Books by William Boyd at BookBrowse
Love Is Blind jacket Sweet Caress jacket Waiting for Sunrise jacket Ordinary Thunderstorms jacket
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Read-Alikes

All the books below are recommended as read-alikes for William Boyd but some maybe more relevant to you than others depending on which books by the author you have read and enjoyed. So look for the suggested read-alikes by title linked on the right.
How we choose read-alikes

  • John Banville

    John Banville

    John Banville, the author of seventeen novels, has been the recipient of the Man Booker Prize, the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, the Guardian Fiction Award, the Franz Kafka Prize, a Lannan Literary Award for Fiction, and ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    Any Human Heart

    Try:
    The Sea
    by John Banville

  • Saul Bellow

    Saul Bellow

    Saul Bellow was born in Lachine, Quebec on June 10, 1915, and was raised in Chicago. He attended the University of Chicago, received his Bachelor's degree from Northwestern University in 1937, with honors in sociology and ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    Any Human Heart

    Try:
    Ravelstein
    by Saul Bellow

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