British novelist, journalist and broadcaster Sebastian Charles Faulks CBE was born 20 April 1953 in Donnington, Berkshire. His father was a decorated soldier (he won the Military Cross), who later became a solicitor and judge. His brother Edward Faulks, Baron Faulks QC, a barrister, became a Conservative Government Minister in January 2014 in the Ministry of Justice.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 became 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 his historical novels set in France. Faulks is best known for his three novels set in early twentieth-century France. This was followed by Birdsong (1993), and Charlotte Gray (1998). The latter two were best-sellers, and Charlotte Gray was shortlisted for the James Tait Black Memorial Prize. In April 2003 Birdsong came 13th in the BBC’s Big Read initiative which aimed to identify Britain’s best loved novels.
In 1991 he left The Independent, and wrote for various other papers. Following the success of Birdsong Faulks quit journalism to write full-time. He has since published eight novels; including: Devil May Care a James Bond continuation novel, To mark the 2008 centenary of Ian Fleming’s birth, which was commissioned by the late author’s estate in 2006. He also wrote Human Traces (which is set in a Victorian Lunatic Asylum), a continuation of P.G. Wodehouse’s Jeeves and the Wedding Bells (2013) and Engleby, which is Set in Cambridge in the 1970s, it is narrated by Cambridge University fresher Mike Engleby who is implicated when a fellow student disappears. He next wrote A Week in December (2009) which takes place, in the seven days leading up to Christmas in December 2007 and focuses on the lives of a varied cast of characters living in London during the Banking Crisis which also features reality television and Islamic Militancy. Among his His latest novels are A Possible Life and Where my Heart used to beat.
Faulks was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 1993 he won the 1994 British Book Awards Author of the Year, the 1998 James Tait Black Memorial Prize for fiction (shortlist) for Charlotte Gray. In 2002 he was Appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE), “For services to Literature” and in 2009 he won the British Book Awards Popular Fiction Award for Devil May Care. In 2001 Charlotte Gray was made into a film starring Cate Blanchett and directed by Gillian Armstrong. In 2010 a stage version of Birdsong, adapted by Rachel Wagstaff (who had previously adapted The Girl at the Lion d’Or for radio) and directed by Trevor Nunn, opened at the Comedy Theatre in London; and was subsequently made into a two-part BBC TV serial in 2012, written by Abi Morgan, directed by Philip Martin and starring Eddie Redmayne.
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). In 2011 Faulks presented a four-part BBC Two series called Faulks on Fiction, looking at the British novel and its characters and also wrote a series tie-in book of the same name.