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Author Profiles: David Mitchell - General Fiction

Author Name: David Mitchell

Brief Biography:

David Mitchell was born in Southport in 1969, and grew up in Malvern, Worcestershire. He gained a degree in English and American Literature at the University of Kent, followed by a MA in Comparative Literature. He lived in Sicily for a year before moving to Hiroshima, Japan, where for eight years he taught English to technical students, before returning to England.

His first novel, Ghostwritten, was a fantastic and highly praised debut, and features nine narrators in nine locations across the globe telling interlocking stories. The characters and ideas appear and reappear in clever and subtle ways. His second novel, number9dream, is set in modern day Tokyo and tells the story of Eiji Miyake’s search for his father.

David Mitchell - Author.

David Mitchell’s third book, Cloud Atlas features on my list of best books I’ve ever read. Six separate but gradually and expertly interlinked narratives range across an incredible expanse of time: from the colonial era of the 19th century far into a future of programmed existence and then a post-apocalyptic world of warring tribes. It was an amazing undertaking and is supremely well-structured in that the six successive stories of the first half of the book leave loose ends that are expertly and satisfyingly tied up in the second half of the book. Cloud Atlas has been described as being breathtaking in it’s audacity.

His latest novel is Black Swan Green. This is a novel about thirteen-year old Jason Taylor and tracks a single year of his life on the cusp of adulthood. Set in the sleepiest village in muddiest Worcestershire in 1982, the thirteen chapters, each a short story in its own right, create a wonderfully observed world that is anything but sleepy. Boy’s games on a frozen lake, “nightcreeping” through summer backyards of strangers, cruel luscious Dawn Madden and her power-hungry boyfriend, an elderly bohemian émigré who is both more and less than she appears, first cigarettes, first kisses, first music, Gypsies camping in the woods, all contribute to a funny, profound, off-the-wall novel that is a joy to read.

David Mitchell is a courageous and accomplished writer with an imagination that can grasp huge ideas and weave them together into a gripping story that feels disturbingly visionary at times. He lives on the edge of a town called Clonakilty, in County Cork, Ireland. He is married with two young children.

Interesting snippets: As child and through his youth David Mitchell suffered from a stammer. He writes an informative and insightful article called Let Me Speak about his experience of this condition and how to overcome it at


Ghostwritten, 1999, published by Sceptre
number9dream, 2001, published by Sceptre
Cloud Atlas, 2004, published by Sceptre
Black Swan Green, 2006, published by Sceptre
Deshima available in hardcover in May 2010

Prizes and Awards:

1999 Guardian First Book Award (shortlist) for Ghostwritten
1999 Mail on Sunday/John Llewellyn Rhys Prize for Ghostwritten
2001 James Tait Black Memorial Prize (for fiction) (shortlist) for number9dream
2002 Man Booker Prize for Fiction (shortlist) for number9dream
2004 Man Booker Prize for Fiction (shortlist) for Cloud Atlas
2005 British Book Awards Literary Fiction Award for Cloud Atlas
2005 British Book Awards Richard & Judy Best Read of the Year for Cloud Atlas
2005 Commonwealth Writers Prize (Eurasia Region, Best Book) (shortlist) for Cloud Atlas
2006 Costa Novel Award (shortlist) for Black Swan Green
2006 Quill Book Award (USA) (general fiction - shortlist) for Black Swan Green
2007 Commonwealth Writers Prize (Eurasia Region Best Book) (shortlist) for Black Swan Green

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