Paul Bailey

Paul Bailey is a British author of fiction and broadcaster. His diverse works also have included biography, autobiography, and plays for radio and television. Paul Bailey was twice a Booker Prize nominee for his novels Peter Smart's Confessions (1977) and Gabriel's Lament (1986).

"I share Isaac Babel's lifelong ambition to write with simplicity, brevity, and precision," Bailey said.

Paul Bailey's academic journey began at Sir Walter St John's Grammar School For Boys in Battersea, London. He secured a scholarship to the Central School of Speech and Drama in 1953. Before becoming a full-time writer in 1967, he worked as an actor.

His debut book At The Jerusalem (1967) won the Author's Club First Novel Award and Somerset Maugham Award. The novel explores the lives and relationships of the residents of a boarding house in London.

Bailey was appointed Literary Fellow at Newcastle and Durham Universities and was awarded a Bicentennial Fellowship in 1976, enabling him to travel to the USA, where he was Visiting Lecturer in English Literature at the North Dakota State University.

In 1977 Bailey published Peter Smart's Confessions, which earned him only £1,000 upfront and was shortlisted for the Booker.

He was awarded the E.M. Forster Award in 1974. In 1978 he won the George Orwell Prize for his essay The Limitations of Despair.

Paul Bailey's novels include Gabriel's Lament (1986), also shortlisted for the Booker Prize for Fiction, and Sugar Cane (1993), a sequel to Gabriel's Lament.

He has written plays for radio and television: At Cousin Henry's (1964) and Joe Ackerley's We Think the World of You (1980).

His non-fiction books include two volumes of memoirs, An Immaculate Mistake: Scenes from Childhood and Beyond (1990) and A Dog's Life (2003). Three Queer Lives: An Alternative Biography of Naomi Jacob, Fred Barnes, and Arthur Marshall (2001) is a biography of three gay entertainers from the twentieth century.

His latest books are Chapman's Odyssey (2011) and The Prince's Boy (2014).

Paul Bailey is now the happily occupied theatre critic of the Oldie Magazine.

Photo credit: Jonathan Ring
years of life: 16 February 1937 present
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