Brief Biography Adam Thorpe (1956 – )
Poet, playwright and novelist Adam Thorpe was born in Paris in 1956 and grew up in India, Cameroon and England. After graduating from Magdalen College, Oxford, in 1979, he started a theatre company and toured villages and schools before moving to London where he taught Drama and English Literature. He is the author of Tyres, a short story some of you will be studying for your English Literature courses. More on the story will follow in my next post.
Thorpe is a prolific writer and has published collections of poetry, novels, short stories and plays. His first novel, Ulverton (1992), a panoramic portrait of English rural history, was published to great critical acclaim and prompted novelist John Fowles, reviewing the book in The Guardian (28 May 1992), to call it ‘the most interesting first novel I have read these last years’. The book consists of 12 loosely-connected narrative episodes tracing 350 years in the history of a rural village and its inhabitants, employing various narrative forms from dense prose written in thick dialect to modern film script. The book won the Winifred Holtby Memorial Prize in 1992.
The novel Still (1995) follows film director Ricky Thornby’s ambitious plans to make an all-encompassing film about the twentieth century and Pieces of Light (1998) which describes a young boy’s childhood in West Africa and the mystery that develops when he is sent to live with an eccentric uncle in the English countryside on the eve of the Second World War. See Bibliography for other titles.
The short story, ‘Tyres’ that we are studying for our AS Literature course is from his book of short stories Shifts (2000). In this collection, he explores interconnected themes of work and labour.
He is also the author of five plays for BBC Radio, including The Fen Story (1991), Offa’s Daughter (1993) and An Envied Place (2002), as well as a stage play, Couch Grass and Ribbon, first performed in 1996.
Adam Thorpe lives in France with his wife and three children. His most recent books are a collection of short stories: Is This The Way You Said? (2006), a poetry collection, Birds with a Broken Wing (2007), and novels The Standing Pool (2008), Hodd (2009), Flight (2012) and more.
|Prizes and Awards|
|Meeting Montaigne Secker & Warburg, 1990
Ulverton Secker & Warburg, 1992
Still Secker & Warburg, 1995
Pieces of Light Cape, 1998
From the Neanderthal Cape, 1999
Shifts Cape, 2000
Nineteen Twenty-One Cape, 2001
No Telling Cape, 2003
Nine Lessons From the Dark Cape, 2003
The Rules of Perspective Cape, 2005
Is This The Way You Said? Cape, 2006
Between Each Breath Cape, 2007
Birds with a Broken Wing Cape, 2007
The Standing Pool Cape, 2008
Hodd Cape, 2009
|1985 Eric Gregory Award
1988 Whitbread Poetry Award (shortlist) Mornings in the Baltic
1992 Winifred Holtby Memorial Prize Ulverton
2007 Forward Poetry Prize (Best Poetry Collection of the Year) (shortlist) Birds with a Broken Wing
2008 National Short Story Prize (shortlist – ‘The Names’)
2010 Walter Scott Prize