As a former newspaper literary editor, Nicholas Shakespeare had written about innumerable Booker Prizes before he found himself longlisted and suddenly a participant rather than an observer.

Famous for turning up to his newspaper offices in a Morgan sports car, Shakespeare’s fiction is often slightly other-wordly too, with settings - from South America to Tanzania - that reflect his upbringing as the son of a diplomat. This rootlessness was also evident in his much-lauded biography of the traveller and fabulist Bruce Chatwin. The former French President François Hollande found himself the object of ridicule when he quoted the line ‘they failed because they did not start with a dream’ - thinking it was by William rather than Nicholas Shakespeare.

Nicholas Shakespeare

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