Simon Mawer - biography
Born: 1948, in England
Chimera, 1989, Little Brown.
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.
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.
author portrait: Robert Hales