David Mitchell (author)

David Stephen Mitchell (born 12 January 1969) is an English novelist. He has published seven novels, two of which, number9dream (2001) and Cloud Atlas (2004), were shortlisted for the Booker Prize.

David Mitchell
Mitchell in 2006
Mitchell in 2006
BornDavid Stephen Mitchell
12 January 1969 (age 50)
Southport, Lancashire, England
Alma materUniversity of Kent
Notable worksGhostwritten
Cloud Atlas
Black Swan Green
The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet
The Bone Clocks
Slade House
Notable awardsJohn Llewellyn Rhys Prize
SpouseKeiko Yoshida

Early life

Mitchell was born in Southport in Lancashire (now Merseyside), England, and raised in Malvern, Worcestershire. He was educated at Hanley Castle High School and at the University of Kent, where he obtained a degree in English and American Literature followed by an M.A. in Comparative Literature.

Mitchell lived in Sicily for a year, then moved to Hiroshima, Japan, where he taught English to technical students for eight years, before returning to England, where he could live on his earnings as a writer and support his pregnant wife.[1]


Mitchell's first novel, Ghostwritten (1999), moves around the globe, from Okinawa to Mongolia to pre-Millennial New York City, as nine narrators tell stories that interlock and intersect. The novel won the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize (for best work of British literature written by an author under 35) and was shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award.[2] His two subsequent novels, number9dream (2001) and Cloud Atlas (2004), were both shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize.[3] In 2003, he was selected as one of Granta's Best of Young British Novelists.[4] In 2007, Mitchell was listed among Time magazine's 100 Most Influential People in The World.[5]

In 2012 his novel Cloud Atlas was made into a film. One segment of number9dream was made into a BAFTA nominated short film in 2011 starring Martin Freeman, titled The Voorman Problem.[6] In recent years he has also written opera libretti. Wake, based on the 2000 Enschede fireworks disaster and with music by Klaas de Vries, was performed by the Dutch Nationale Reisopera in 2010.[7] He has also finished another opera, Sunken Garden, with the Dutch composer Michel van der Aa, which premiered in 2013 by the English National Opera.[8]

Several of Mitchell's book covers were created by design duo Kai and Sunny.[9] Mitchell has also collaborated with the duo, by contributing two short stories to their art exhibits in 2011 and 2014.

Mitchell's sixth novel, The Bone Clocks, was published on 2 September 2014.[10] In an interview in The Spectator, Mitchell said that the novel has "dollops of the fantastic in it", and is about "stuff between life and death".[11] The Bone Clocks was longlisted for the 2014 Man Booker Prize.[12]

Mitchell was the second author to contribute to the Future Library project and delivered his book From Me Flows What You Call Time on 28 May 2016.[13][14]

Other works

In 2015, Mitchell contributed plotting and scripted scenes for the second season of the Netflix show Sense8.[15] Mitchell had signed a contract to write season three before Netflix cancelled the show.[16] He is credited as a writer on the Sense8 series finale special.[17]

Personal life

After another stint in Japan, Mitchell currently lives with his wife, Keiko Yoshida, and their two children in Ardfield, Clonakilty in County Cork, Ireland. In an essay for Random House, Mitchell wrote:[18] "I knew I wanted to be a writer since I was a kid, but until I came to Japan to live in 1994 I was too easily distracted to do much about it. I would probably have become a writer wherever I lived, but would I have become the same writer if I'd spent the last six years in London, or Cape Town, or Moose Jaw, on an oil rig or in the circus? This is my answer to myself."

Mitchell has the speech disorder of stammering[19] and considers the film The King's Speech (2010) to be one of the most accurate portrayals of what it's like to be a stammerer:[19] "I'd probably still be avoiding the subject today had I not outed myself by writing a semi-autobiographical novel, Black Swan Green, narrated by a stammering 13 year old."[19] Mitchell is also a patron of the British Stammering Association.[20]

Mitchell's son has autism, and in 2013 he and his wife Keiko Yoshida translated a book written by Naoki Higashida, a 13-year-old Japanese boy with autism, titled The Reason I Jump: One Boy's Voice from the Silence of Autism.[21] In 2017, Mitchell and his wife translated the follow-up book by Higashida, Fall Down 7 Times Get Up 8: A Young Man's Voice from the Silence of Autism.[22]

List of works


Short stories

  • "January Man", Granta 81: Best of Young British Novelists, Spring 2003
  • "What You Do Not Know You Want", McSweeney's Enchanted Chamber of Astonishing Stories, Vintage Books (Random House), 2004
  • "Acknowledgments", Prospect, 2005
  • "Preface", The Daily Telegraph, April 2006
  • "Dénouement", The Guardian, May 2007
  • "Judith Castle", New York Times, January 2008
  • "An Inside Job", Included in "Fighting Words", edited by Roddy Doyle, published by Stoney Road Press, 2009 (Limited to 150 copies)[23]
  • "The Massive Rat", The Guardian, August 2009
  • "Character Development", The Guardian, September 2009
  • "Muggins Here", The Guardian, August 2010
  • "Earth calling Taylor", Financial Times, December 2010
  • "The Siphoners", Included in "I'm With the Bears: Short Stories from a Damaged Planet", 2011
  • "The Gardener", in the exhibit "The Flower Show" by Kai and Sunny, 2011 (Limited to 50 copies)
  • "Lots of Bits of Star", in the exhibit "Caught by the Nest" by Kai and Sunny, 2013 (Limited to 50 copies)
  • "Variations on a Theme by Mister Donut", Granta 127: Japan, Spring 2014
  • "The Right Sort", Twitter, 2014
  • "A Forgettable Story", Cathay Pacific Discovery, July 2017


  • "Japan and my writing", Essay
  • "Enter the Maze", The Guardian, 2004
  • "Kill me or the cat gets it", The Guardian, 2005 (Book review of Kafka on the Shore)
  • "Let me speak", British Stammering Association, 2006
  • "On historical fiction", The Telegraph, 2010
  • "Adventures in Opera", The Guardian, 2010
  • "Imaginary City", Geist, 2010
  • "Lost for words", Prospect Magazine, 2011
  • "Learning to live with my son's autism", The Guardian, 2013
  • "David Mitchell on Earthsea – a rival to Tolkien and George RR Martin", The Guardian, 23 October 2015
  • "Kate Bush and me: David Mitchell on being a lifelong fan of the pop poet". The Guardian, 7 December 2018[24]


  • "Wake"
  • "Sunken Garden"


  • "The Earthgod and the Fox", 2012 (translation of a short story by Kenji Miyazawa; translation printed in McSweeney's Issue 42, 2012)
  • The Reason I Jump: One Boy's Voice from the Silence of Autism, 2013 (translation of Naoki Higashida's work)
  • "Before the Dawn", 2014 (with Kate Bush co-wrote two spoken scenes during The Ninth Wave sequence in this live production).[25]
  • Fall Down 7 Times Get Up 8, 2017 (translation of Naoki Higashida's work)
  • "Amor Vincit Omnia", 2018; Sense8 episode[26][27]


  1. ^ "David Mitchell, The Art of Fiction No. 204", The Paris Review
  2. ^ Gibbons, Fiachra (1999-11-06). "Readers pick top Guardian books". The Guardian. London.
  3. ^ "Man Booker Prize Archive". Archived from the original on 6 January 2012.
  4. ^ Mitchell, D. (2003). "Best of Young British Novelists 2003: The January Man". Granta (81). Archived from the original on 7 September 2012.
  5. ^ "The Transformative Experience of Writing for "Sense8"". The New Yorker. 2010-05-01. Retrieved 2017-09-27.
  6. ^ "Link to video".
  7. ^ David Mitchell (8 May 2010). "Article by Mitchell describing how he became involved in ''Wake''". London: Guardian. Retrieved 2013-08-28.
  8. ^ "Details of ''Sunken Garden'' from Van der Aa's official website". Vanderaa.net. 2013-06-09. Retrieved 2013-08-28.
  9. ^ "Kai and Sunny: Publishing"
  10. ^ "New David Mitchell novel out next autumn". The Bookseller. 2013-11-26. Retrieved 2013-11-28.
  11. ^ "Interview with a writer: David Mitchell". The Spectator. 2013-01-25. Retrieved 2013-01-27.
  12. ^ Flood, Alison (2016-05-30). "David Mitchell buries latest manuscript for a hundred years". the Guardian. Retrieved 2018-01-21.
  13. ^ "David Mitchell is the Second Author to Join the Future Library Project of 2114". Tor.com. 2016-05-31. Retrieved 2018-01-21.
  14. ^ "The Future Library Project: In 100 years, this forest will be harvested to print David Mitchell's latest work". CBC Radio. Retrieved 2018-01-21.
  15. ^ "'Sense8': Production begins on Netflix special". EW.com. Retrieved 2018-01-21.
  16. ^ Hemon, Aleksandar (2017-09-27). "The Transformative Experience of Writing for "Sense8"". The New Yorker. ISSN 0028-792X. Retrieved 2017-09-27.
  17. ^ Miller, Liz Shannon. "'Sense8' Series Finale Special: Writers, Potential Locations Revealed | IndieWire". www.indiewire.com. Retrieved 2017-09-27.
  18. ^ "Bold Type: Essay by David Mitchell". Randomhouse.com. Retrieved 2013-08-28.
  19. ^ a b c "Lost for words", David Mitchell, Prospect magazine, 23 February 2011, Issue #180
  20. ^ "Black Swan Green revisited". Speaking Out. British Stammering Association. Spring 2011. Retrieved 30 June 2011.
  21. ^ Tisdale, Sallie (23 August 2013). "Voice of the Voiceless". New York Times. Retrieved 1 September 2013.
  22. ^ Doherty, Mike (13 July 2017). "David Mitchell on translating—and learning from—Naoki Higashida". Macleans.
  23. ^ Day, Elizabeth (11 March 2012). "Roddy Doyle: the joy of teaching children to write". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 April 2018.
  24. ^ "Kate Bush and me: David Mitchell on being a lifelong fan of the pop poet".
  25. ^ "Author David Mitchell on working with 'hero' Kate Bush".
  26. ^ Fabiana Bianchi (2 October 2017). "Sense8 a Napoli, svelato il titolo dell'attesa puntata finale girata in città". Napolike (in Italian). Archived from the original on 7 October 2017. Retrieved 7 October 2017.
  27. ^ Aleksandar Hemon (27 September 2017). "The Transformative Experience of Writing for "Sense8"". The New Yorker. Condé Nast. Archived from the original on 27 September 2017. Retrieved 27 September 2017.


  • "The world begins its turn with you, or how David Mitchell's novels think". In B. Schoene. The Cosmopolitan Novel. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2009.
  • Dillon, S. (ed.). David Mitchell: Critical Essays. Kent: Gylphi, 2011.

External links

1969 in the United Kingdom

Events from the year 1969 in the United Kingdom. The year is dominated by the beginnings of the Troubles in Northern Ireland.

A Wizard of Earthsea

A Wizard of Earthsea is a fantasy novel written by American author Ursula K. Le Guin and first published by the small press Parnassus in 1968. It is regarded as a classic of children's literature, and of fantasy, within which it was widely influential. The story is set in the fictional archipelago of Earthsea and centers around a young mage named Ged, born in a village on the island of Gont. He displays great power while still a boy and joins the school of wizardry, where his prickly nature drives him into conflict with one of his fellows. During a magical duel, Ged's spell goes awry and releases a shadow creature that attacks him. The novel follows his journey as he seeks to be free of the creature.

The book has often been described as a Bildungsroman, or coming-of-age story, as it explores Ged's process of learning to cope with power and come to terms with death. The novel also carries Taoist themes about a fundamental balance in the universe of Earthsea, which wizards are supposed to maintain, closely tied to the idea that language and names have power to affect the material world and alter this balance. The structure of the story is similar to that of a traditional epic, although critics have also described it as subverting this genre in many ways, such as by making the protagonist dark-skinned in contrast to more typical white-skinned heroes.

A Wizard of Earthsea received highly positive reviews, initially as a work for children and later among a general audience, as well. It won the Boston Globe–Horn Book Award in 1969 and was one of the final recipients of the Lewis Carroll Shelf Award in 1979. Margaret Atwood called it one of the "wellsprings" of fantasy literature. Le Guin wrote five subsequent books that are collectively referred to as the Earthsea Cycle, together with A Wizard of Earthsea: The Tombs of Atuan (1971), The Farthest Shore (1972), Tehanu (1990), The Other Wind (2001), and Tales from Earthsea (2001). George Slusser described the series as a "work of high style and imagination", while Amanda Craig said that A Wizard of Earthsea was "the most thrilling, wise, and beautiful children's novel ever".

Andreas Heusser

Andreas Heusser (born 1976) is a Swiss conceptual artist and curator, based in Zurich and Johannesburg.

British Stammering Association

The British Stammering Association (BSA), a charity since 1978, is a national membership organisation in the United Kingdom for adults and children who stammer, their friends and families, speech and language therapists and other professionals. Based in London, it is run by people who stammer. BSA promotes awareness of stammering, offers advice, information and support to all whose lives are affected by stammering, initiates and supports research into stammering and identifies and promotes effective therapies. It describes stammering as a neurological issue and estimates that about 700,000 people in the UK have a stammer.

Cartagena, Colombia

The city of Cartagena, known in the colonial era as Cartagena de Indias (Spanish: Cartagena de Indias [kaɾtaˈxena ðe ˈindjas] (listen)), is a major port founded in 1533, located on the northern coast of Colombia in the Caribbean Coast Region. It was strategically located between the Magdalena and Sinú rivers and became the main port for trade between Spain and its overseas empire, establishing its importance by the early 1540s. During the colonial era it was a key port for the export of Peruvian silver to Spain and for the import of enslaved Africans under the asiento system. It was defensible against pirate attacks in the Caribbean. It is the capital of the Bolívar Department, and had a population 971,592 as of 2016. It is the fifth-largest city in Colombia and the second largest in the region, after Barranquilla. The urban area of Cartagena is also the fifth-largest urban area in the country. Economic activities include the maritime and petrochemicals industries, as well as tourism.

The city was founded on June 1, 1533, and named after Cartagena, Spain, settlement in the region around Cartagena Bay by various indigenous people dates back to 4000 BC. During the Spanish colonial period Cartagena served a key role in administration and expansion of the Spanish empire. It was a center of political, ecclesiastical, and economic activity. In 1984, Cartagena's colonial walled city and fortress were designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.


Clonakilty (; Irish: Cloich na Coillte, Clanna Chaoilte), sometimes shortened to Clon, is a town in County Cork, Ireland. The town is located at the head of the tidal Clonakilty Bay. The rural hinterland is used mainly for dairy farming. The town's population as of 2016 was 4,592. The town is a tourism hub in West Cork, and was recognised as the "Best Town in Europe" in 2017, and "Best Place of the Year" in 2017 by the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland. Clonakilty is in the Cork South-West (Dáil Éireann) constituency, which has three seats.


Dent-de-Leone is a small independent publisher located in London, distinctive for its collaboration directly with artists and designers to produce its books. It was founded by Martino Gamper, Kajsa Ståhl and Maki Suzuki (both from design collective Åbäke) in 2004 with the publication of the book What Martino Gamper did between two-thousand and two-thousand&four. It produces an irregular number of books per year, as well as limited editions and multiples. Dent-De-Leone has participated in numerous art book fairs including the Whitechapel Art Book Fair, Publish And Be Damned and the Motto art book fair. All of its publications are designed by Åbäke.

Edo period in popular culture

The Edo period of the history of Japan is the setting of many works of popular culture. These include novels, stage plays, films, television shows, animated works, manga, and video games. Major events of the period, such as the Siege of Osaka, Shimabara Rebellion, and the decline and fall of the Tokugawa shogunate figure prominently in many works. Historical and fictional people and groups of the period, including Miyamoto Musashi, Izumo no Okuni, Yagyū Jūbei Mitsuyoshi, the fictional Isshin Tasuke, Yui Shōsetsu, Matsuo Bashō, Tokugawa Mitsukuni (Mito Kōmon), Ōoka Tadasuke, Tōyama Kagemoto (Tōyama no Kin-san), the Forty-seven Ronin, Sakamoto Ryōma, Katsu Kaishū, and the Shinsengumi, as well as the fifteen Tokugawa shoguns were active for much or all of their public lives and are dramatized in works of popular culture. The cultural developments of the times, including kabuki, bunraku, and ukiyo-e, and practices like sankin kōtai and pilgrimages to the Ise Shrine, feature in many works set in Edo Japan.

Many popular works written during or following the Edo period were also set during the same period. Kabuki plays in contemporary settings were known as sewamono.

Some works span multiple media. The Mito Kōmon Man'yūki (水戸黄門漫遊記) has become popular in genres as diverse as kōdan, kabuki, stage plays, novels, films, television, manga, and anime.

In Praise of Shadows

In Praise of Shadows (陰翳礼讃, In'ei Raisan) is an essay on Japanese aesthetics by the Japanese author and novelist Jun'ichirō Tanizaki. It was translated into English by the academic students of Japanese literature, Thomas Harper and Edward Seidensticker. A new translation by Gregory Starr was published in December 2017.

Malvern, Worcestershire

Malvern is a spa town and civil parish in Worcestershire, England. It lies at the foot of the Malvern Hills, a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The centre of Malvern, Great Malvern, is a historic conservation area, which grew dramatically in Victorian times due to the natural mineral water springs in the vicinity, including Malvern Water.

At the 2011 census it had a population of 29,626. It includes Great Malvern on the steep eastern flank of the Malvern Hills, as well as the former independent urban district of Malvern Link. Many of the major suburbs and settlements that comprise the town are separated by large tracts of open common land and fields, and together with smaller civil parishes adjoining the town's boundaries and the hills, the built up area is often referred to collectively as The Malverns.Archaeological evidence suggests that Bronze Age people had settled in the area around 1000 BC, although it is not known whether these settlements were permanent or temporary. The town itself was founded in the 11th century when Benedictine monks established a priory at the foot of the highest peak of Malvern Hills. During the 19th century Malvern developed rapidly from a village to a sprawling conurbation owing to its popularity as a hydrotherapy spa based on its spring waters. Immediately following the decline of spa tourism towards the end of the 19th century, the town's focus shifted to education with the establishment of several private boarding schools in former hotels and large villas. A further major expansion was the result of the relocation of the Telecommunications Research Establishment (TRE) to Malvern in 1942. QinetiQ, TRE's successor company, remains the town's largest local employer.Malvern is the largest place in the parliamentary constituency of West Worcestershire and the district of Malvern Hills, being also the district's administrative seat. It lies adjacent to the Malvern Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The civil parish is governed by Malvern Town Council from its offices in Great Malvern.

Michel van der Aa

Michel van der Aa (Dutch pronunciation: [ˌmixəl vɑn dər ˈaː]; born 10 March 1970) is a Dutch composer of contemporary classical music.


Southport is a large seaside town in Merseyside, England. At the 2001 census, it had a population of 90,336, making it the eleventh most populous settlement in North West England.Southport lies on the Irish Sea coast and is fringed to the north by the Ribble estuary. The town is 16.7 miles (26.9 km) north of Liverpool and 14.8 miles (23.8 km) southwest of Preston.

Historically part of Lancashire, the town was founded in 1792 when William Sutton, an innkeeper from Churchtown, built a bathing house at what is now the south end of Lord Street. At that time, the area, known as South Hawes, was sparsely populated and dominated by sand dunes. At the turn of the 19th century, the area became popular with tourists due to the easy access from the nearby Leeds and Liverpool Canal. The rapid growth of Southport largely coincided with the Industrial Revolution and the Victorian era. Town attractions include Southport Pier with its Southport Pier Tramway, the second longest seaside pleasure pier in the British Isles, and Lord Street is an elegant tree-lined shopping street.

Extensive sand dunes stretch for several miles from Woodvale to Birkdale, the south of the town. The Ainsdale sand dunes have been designated as a national nature reserve and a Ramsar site. Local fauna include the Natterjack toad and the Sand lizard. The town contains examples of Victorian architecture and town planning, on Lord Street and elsewhere. A particular feature of the town is the extensive tree planting. This was one of the conditions required by the Hesketh family when they made land available for development in the 19th century. Hesketh Park at the northern end of the town is named after them, having been built on land donated by Rev. Charles Hesketh.Southport today is still one of the most popular seaside resorts in the UK. It hosts various events, including an annual air show on and over the beach, the largest independent flower show in the UK (in Victoria Park) and the British Musical Fireworks Championship. The town is at the centre of England's Golf Coast and has hosted the Open Championship at the Royal Birkdale Golf Club.

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