John Spurling's picture

John Spurling

Born in Kisumu in 1936, and brought up in Nairobi, John came to England aged 10. Two years later he wrote and produced his first play - a schoolboy farce about Julius Caesar's fictitious third landing in Britain.

After National Service in the Royal Artillery, and studying Law at St. John's College, Oxford, in 1960 John helped organise a United Nations plebiscite in the then Southern Cameroons, now part of the Cameroun Republic.

In 1963 he joined the BBC as a radio announcer, where he stayed until he received a two-year grant from a group of West End theatre managers to write plays. This resulted in MacRune's Guevara, performed by the National Theatre in 1969 and recently revived off-Broadway.

John has been a freelance writer since 1966, reviewing, broadcasting and writing two books of criticism on Beckett's plays and Greene's novels as well as some 30 plays and, more recently, four novels. In 1973 John became Henfield Writing Fellow at the University of East Anglia and was The New Statesman's art critic from 1976-88.

John's latest books are The Ten Thousand Things, to be published by Overlook (New York) and Duckworth (London) in 2014, A Book of Liszts, published by Seagull Books in 2011 and, still to find a publisher, Arcadian Nights, stories from the Greek myths.

John is married to the biographer Hilary Spurling. They have three children, and live in London and Arcadia, Greece.

John's grandfather was the classicalscholar, J.C.Stobart, the BBC's first Director of Education andauthor of "The Glory That Was Greece" and "The Grandeur That Was Rome"
Walter Scott Prize Best Historical Novel winner (2015) : The Ten Thousand Things