Dublin-born Niall Williams was longlisted for the Booker Prize in 2014. He cut his teeth as a writer with four non-fiction books written with his American wife Christine Breen about life in their cottage in County Clare, Ireland.
Faha, a fictional village in the west of Ireland, is also the setting for History of the Rain. County Clare was preceded by University College Dublin, a year in Caen in Normandy and time in New York where Williams worked opening boxes of books in a bookshop just north of New York. There, his most famous customer was Frank Sinatra, who once bought four carrier bags of books worth $800 – which he didn’t pay for. As well as novels, Williams has written plays and YA fiction, though writing, he says, doesn’t get any easier: ‘because it is simply so difficult’.