Sebastian Faulks CBE

imageBest known for his historical novels set in France, British novelist, journalist, and broadcaster Sebastian Faulks CBE was born 20 April 1953 in Donnington, Berkshire. He was educated at Elstree School, Reading and went on to Wellington College, Berkshire. He read English at Emmanuel College, Cambridge, of which he was made an Honorary Fellow in 2007. Whilst at Cambridge he participated in University Challenge, in which Emmanuel College lost in the opening round. Faulks commented that his team were most probably hampered by a trip to the pub before the show, as recommended by the show’s producer. After graduating, Faulks lived in France for a year. When he returned to England he worked as a teacher at a private school in Camden Town, and then as a journalist. Faulks’ first novel, A Trick of the Light, was published in 1984. He continued to work as a journalist, becoming the first literary editor of The Independent in 1986. He became deputy editor of the Independent on Sunday in 1989.

in the same year he published The Girl at the Lion d’Or, the first of three historical novels set in France this was followed by Birdsong and Charlotte Grey. In 1991 he left The Independent, and wrote for various other papers. Following the success of Birdsong (1993), Faulks quit journalism to write full-time.He has since published eight novels. Including Engleby in 2007, this is Set in Cambridge in the 1970s, and is narrated by Cambridge University fresher Mike Engleby. Engleby is a loner, and the reader is led to suspect that he may be unreliable, particularly when a fellow student disappears.

Following Engleby Faulks was commissioned by Ian Fleming’s estate to write a new James Bond Novel, To mark the 2008 centenary of Ian Fleming’s birth. The result, Devil May Care, became an immediate best-seller in the UK, selling 44,093 hardback copies within 4 days of release. Faulks’ then wrote the 2009 novel, A Week in December, which takes place, in the seven days leading up to Christmas in December 2007. It focuses on the lives of a varied cast of characters living in London and was written during the banking crisis and also refers to reality television and Islamic Millitancy. Faulks himself has described the novel as “Dickensian” and cites Bleak House and Our Mutual Friend as influences as well as New York novelists such as Tom Wolfe and Jay McInerney.

Faulks also appears regularly on British TV and radio. He has been a regular team captain on BBC Radio 4’s literary quiz The Write Stuff since 1998.The quiz involves the panellists each week writing a pastiche of the work of a selected author; Faulks has published a collection of his efforts as a book, Pistache (2006). In2011 Faulks presented a four-part Television series called Faulks on Fiction, looking at the British novel and its characters. He also wrote a series tie-in book of the same name.

During his writing career Faulks has memorably skewered the British literary and has won many awards – Charlotte Gray was shortlisted for the James Tait Black Memorial Prize and In April 2003 Birdsong came 13th in the BBC’s Big Read initiative which aimed to identify Britain’s best loved novels. Faulks was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 1993 and appointed CBE for services to literature in 2010.

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