Simon Mawer - biography

Born: 1948, in England


Childhood: England, Cyprus & Malta


School: Millfield, Somerset, UK


University: Brasenose College, Oxford

First publication:

Chimera, 1989, Little Brown.

Family:

There are four of us: my wife Connie, to whom I owe everything ...and my children Matthew and Julia, who also have put up with a great deal... The children have long left home now and are in the process of continuing the species by, with the help of their spouses, producing two offspring each.

Background:

My father, like his father before him, served in the Royal Air Force, in my father's case, right through the Second World War (when he flew with a Special Duties squadron) and into the 1970s. So I was born into the nomadic life of a typical military family, spending, amongst various moves in England, three years in Cyprus during the EOKA period and a total of five years in Malta. These experiences planted in me a love of the Mediterranean world which has lasted my whole life. They also gave me a taste for exile which I have never lost. When people ask me where I come from I am still unable to reply. I have lived in Italy for more than three decades, but Italy is not home. Home is where the mind is, perhaps.

From the age of eight I was educated in boarding schools, an experience I loathed at first but later came to enjoy. Above all it forced upon me the need to preserve a secret, interior world in a society where privacy was at a premium, training that was surely significant in my development as a writer.

After university I spent three years teaching biology in the Channel Islands, two years in Scotland, and two in Malta, before moving to Rome where I have lived ever since. Teaching and family took up much time, and it wasn't until my fortieth year that my first novel, Chimera, was sold, to Hamish Hamilton.

Since then I have published thirteen further books, eleven of them novels. I now divide my time between Italy and Hastings, where, by complete coincidence, I live less than a hundred yards from where my great-great grandmother, Naomi Lulham, was born in 1832. It was from here that she made her way to London as a young woman - see my latest novel ANCESTRY. So in a sense, I have come home.

 

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author portrait: Robert Hales

 

Simon Mawer 2008 - 2022. This website is written and maintained by the author.