William Boyd's picture

William Boyd

UK flag (b.1952)

William Boyd was born in Ghana. He was brought up there and in Nigeria. He was educated at the universities of Nice, Glasgow and Oxford. He is the author of seven previous novels and the recipient of many awards including the Whitbread First Novel, the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize, the James Tait Black Memorial Prize and the Sunday Express Book of the Year Award. An Ice-Cream War was shortlisted for the Booker Prize. He is married and lives in Chelsea, London.

Genres: Literary Fiction, Thriller, Historical

Series contributed to
James Bond
   38. Solo (2013)
Non fiction
   Bamboo (2005)
   The Gifts of Reading (2020) (with Candice Carty-Williams, Imtiaz Dharker, Roddy Doyle, Pico Iyer, Robert Macfarlane, Andy Miller, Jackie Morris, Chigozie Obioma and Philip Pullman)
Booker Prize Best Novel nominee (1982) : An Ice-Cream War
James Tait Black Memorial Prize for Fiction Best Book winner (1990) : Brazzaville Beach
International IMPAC Dublin Literary Awards Best Novel nominee (2004) : Any Human Heart
Costa Book Awards Best Novel winner (2006) : Restless
The Richard and Judy Best Read of the Year Best Book nominee (2007) : Restless
Walter Scott Prize Best Historical Novel nominee (2016) : Sweet Caress

William Boyd recommends
The Outsider (1942)
Albert Camus
"One of those books that marks a reader's life indelibly."
The Foundling Boy (1975)
Michel Déon
"Our lives would be all the richer if we read a Michel Déon novel."
Alma Cogan (1991)
Gordon Burn
"An extraordinary, unprecidented novel, audacious, innovative and totally compelling."
The Kindness of Women (1991)
(Empire of the Sun, book 2)
J G Ballard
"The book is full of mesmerising writing, classic examples of the Ballard style, paragraphs and pages that disturb and enthral... A force is operating in this astonishing book which is hard to resist."
Sozaboy (1994)
Ken Saro-Wiwa
"...one of the great achievements of African Literature."
Falling Away (1996)
Candida Crewe
"A beautiful and impressive feat of imagination."
The Last King of Scotland (1998)
Giles Foden
"Audacious, shrewd and spirited."
The Memory of All That (1999)
Bryan Forbes
"A fascinating novel, utterly compelling and wonderfully authentic."
Amagansett (2004)
Mark Mills
"A striking and assured first thriller...worldly and impeccably researched."
Something in the Sea (2006)
Yves Bonavero
"I was gripped and enthralled."
Typhoon (2008)
Charles Cumming
"Compelling, vivid and disturbing. I read it at a rate of knots."
Free Agent (2009)
(Paul Dark Trilogy , book 1)
Jeremy Duns
"A wholly engrossing and sophisticated spy novel set against a forgotten corner of 20th century history. Fascinating and compelling."
Collected Stories (2010)
Hanif Kureishi
"No one else casts such a shrewd and gimlet eye on contemporary life."
The Dogs of Rome (2010)
(Commissario Alec Blume, book 1)
Conor Fitzgerald
"Powerful and hugely compelling."
Who is Tom Ditto? (2014)
Danny Wallace
"Tremendous. Funny, beguiling and stealthily profound."
The Death of Rex Nhongo (2015)
C B George
"A terrific novel absolutely compelling and chilling. A wonderfully astute and forensic blend of fact and fiction, lies and truth."
Last Stories (2018)
William Trevor
"He is, I think, sui generis, and in his 12 collections (and 13 novels, and two novellas: an exhibition of near-Updikean energy), he has created a version of the short story that almost ignores the form's hundred or so years of intricate evolution. These stories stay in the mind long after they're finished because they're so solid, so deliberately shaped and directed so surely toward their solemn, harsh conclusions."
Nice Jumper (2018)
Tom Cox
"Does for golf what Fever Pitch did for football...Funny, cleaver and all-too-horribly true."
Only to Sleep (2018)
(Philip Marlowe)
Lawrence Osborne
"A brilliant Raymond Chandler continuation novel with an ageing Philip Marlowe. Osborne and Chandler are a perfect match."
Too Close (2018)
Natalie Daniels
"A tremendous, powerful, audacious novel - full of scathing insight ; full of raw, compelling feeling."
In the Full Light of the Sun (2019)
Clare Clark
"A completely fascinating novel about the early 20th century art world and its many dubious machinations. Expertly researched, compellingly narrated and full of potent resonance today."
Lomita For Ever (2019)
Trevor Eve
"At once audacious, coolly knowing, highly observant and wryly funny."
Independence Square (2020)
A D Miller
"A tremendous novel - taut, compelling, reeking of authenticity. A.D. Miller writes with exemplary precision and sophistication. Independence Square is an unsparing examination of human beings caught up in historical forces they can barely comprehend."
We Germans (2020)
Alexander Starritt
"We Germans is a remarkable and audacious novel that is harrowingly real and, at the same time, asks the most searching questions about men at war."
The Sandpit (2020)
Nicholas Shakespeare
"A remarkable contemporary thriller – with shades of Graham Greene and Le Carré about it – but also a profound and compelling investigation of a hugely complex human predicament. Brilliantly observed, captivatingly written, grippingly narrated – a triumph."
The Answer to Everything (2021)
Luke Kennard
"A tremendous novel – funny, shrewd, poignantly destabilising – and charged with Luke Kennard’s laconic wit and his gimlet eye for the foibles and nuances of human behaviour. A huge success."
The Island of Missing Trees (2021)
Elif Shafak
"A wonderfully transporting and magical novel that is, at the same time, revelatory about recent history and the natural world and quietly profound."
The Paper Palace (2021)
Miranda Cowley Heller
"A beautifully constructed, wonderfully intelligent and beguiling novel, rich with a multitude of pleasures."
The Plant Hunter (2022)
T L Mogford
"It's a great Stevensonian adventure but with a 21st century spin. Harry and Clarissa work really well - wholly believable and sexily engaging. The detail and the textures throughout are exemplary: lightly worn but dripping with atmosphere and exotic life. Really brilliantly achieved."
Sins of the Fathers (2022)
(Wolf , book 2)
Herbert J Stern and Alan A Winter
"A superb and exciting blend of intrigue and history that will keep you on the edge of your seat from beginning to end."

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