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David Mitchell (author)

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Title: David Mitchell (author)  
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Subject: Cloud Atlas (film), Black Swan Green, Cloud Atlas (novel), Number9dream, The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet
Collection: 1969 Births, 20Th-Century British Novelists, 20Th-Century English Novelists, 20Th-Century Translators, 21St-Century British Novelists, 21St-Century Translators, Alumni of the University of Kent, Clonakilty, English Educators, English Expatriates in Ireland, English Expatriates in Italy, English Expatriates in Japan, English Novelists, English Translators, Japanese–english Translators, John Llewellyn Rhys Prize Winners, Living People, People Educated at Hanley Castle High School, People from County Cork, People from Malvern, Worcestershire, People from Southport, People with Speech Impediments, Postmodern Writers, Teachers of English as a Second or Foreign Language, Writers from Worcestershire
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

David Mitchell (author)

David Mitchell
David Mitchell, 2006
Born (1969-01-12) 12 January 1969
Southport, England, United Kingdom
Occupation Novelist
Nationality British
Alma mater University of Kent
Period 1999-present
Notable works Ghostwritten, number9dream, Cloud Atlas, Black Swan Green, The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet, The Bone Clocks
Notable awards John Llewellyn Rhys Prize
1999 Ghostwritten

David Stephen Mitchell (born 12 January 1969) is an English novelist. He has written six novels, two of which, number9dream (2001) and Cloud Atlas (2004) were shortlisted for the Booker Prize. He has lived in Italy, Japan and Ireland.


  • Early life 1
  • Work 2
  • Personal life 3
  • List of works 4
  • References 5
  • Sources 6
  • External links 7

Early life

Mitchell was born in Southport in 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". 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.[6] 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.[7]

Several of Mitchell's book covers were created by design duo Kai and Sunny.[8] 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.[9] 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".[10] The Bone Clocks was longlisted for the 2014 Man Booker Prize.

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:[11] "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[12] 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:[12] "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."[12] Mitchell is also a patron of the British Stammering Association.[13]

Mitchell's son has autism, and in 2013 he and his wife Keiko Yoshida translated into English 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.[14]

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)[15]
  • "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


  • "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, October 23, 2015


  • "Wake"
  • "Sunken Garden"



  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". 
  4. ^ Mitchell, D. (2003). "Best of Young British Novelists 2003: The January Man". Granta (81). 
  5. ^ "The Time 100". Time. 2007-05-03. Retrieved 2010-05-01. 
  6. ^ David Mitchell (8 May 2010). "Article by Mitchell describing how he became involved in ''Wake''". London: Guardian. Retrieved 2013-08-28. 
  7. ^ "Details of ''Sunken Garden'' from Van der Aa's official website". 2013-06-09. Retrieved 2013-08-28. 
  8. ^ "Kai and Sunny: Publishing"
  9. ^ "New David Mitchell novel out next autumn".  
  10. ^ "Interview with a writer: David Mitchell". The Spectator. 2013-01-25. Retrieved 2013-01-27. 
  11. ^ "Bold Type: Essay by David Mitchell". Retrieved 2013-08-28. 
  12. ^ a b c "Lost for words", David Mitchell, Prospect magazine, 23 February 2011, Issue #180
  13. ^ "Black Swan Green revisited". Speaking Out (British Stammering Association). Spring 2011. Retrieved 30 June 2011. 
  14. ^ Tisdale, Sallie (23 August 2013). "Voice of the Voiceless". New York Times. Retrieved 1 September 2013. 
  15. ^ "Roddy Doyle: the joy of teaching children to write". 


  • "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

  • Official website
  • David Mitchell's profile at the official Man Booker Prize site
  • Adam Begley (Summer 2010). "David Mitchell, The Art of Fiction No. 204". Paris Review. 
  • Linklater, A. (2007-09-22). "The author who was forced to learn wordplay". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 2007-09-23. 
  • David Mitchell - How I Write, Untitled Books, May 2010
  • "Get Writing: Playing With Structure" by David Mitchell at
  • "Character Development" by David Mitchell, a short story from The Guardian (2009)
  • "David Mitchell, the Experimentalist", New York Times Magazine, June 2010
  • "The Floating Library: What can't the novelist David Mitchell do?", The New Yorker, 5 July 2010
  • "David Mitchell: The philosophy of stories and The Wire",, 12 August 2011
  • Number 9 Dream. Interview with  
  • Black Swan Green. Interview with  
  • The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet. Interview with  
  • Cloud Atlas. Interview with  
  • The Bone Clocks. Interview with  
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