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March 1, 1946: Jim Crace born at Brocket Hall, near Welwyn in Hertfordshire, UK. Raised in Enfield, North London.

1965-8: studies at the Birmingham College of Commerce as an external student of London University. College contemporaries include the novelists Gordon Burn and Patrick McGrath, and the Iranian photographer, Abbas, currently President of Magnum. Graduates with a BA Hons in English Literature.

1968-9: joins the Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) and goes to the Sudan. Works in Educational Television in Khartoum and Omdurman. Lives briefly in Molepolole, Botswana. Member of the Young Socialists. Campaigns for nuclear disarmament and colonial freedom.

1970: returns to the UK. Works for the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), writing educational programmes.

1974: publishes his first work of prose fiction, "Annie, California Plates" in The New Review. The story is included in The New Review Anthology, edited by Ian Hamilton (published by Heinemann, reprinted 1987 by Paladin). To read it, click here. Over the next ten years, writes short stories and radio plays including:

  • "Helter Skelter, Hang Sorrow, Care’ll Kill a Cat", The New Review (December 1975). Reprinted in Cosmopolitan (date) and included in Introduction 6: stories by new writers (Faber, 1977)
  • "Refugees", winner of the Socialist Challenge short story competition (judges: John Fowles, Fay Weldon, Terry Eagleton), Socialist Challenge (1977). To read this story click here.
  • "Seven Ages", Quarto (June 1980), broadcast as "Middling" by BBC Radio 3. To view "Seven Ages" as an e-text, click here.
  • "The Bird Has Flown", radio play, broadcast on BBC Radio 4 28 October 1976. For further details click here.
  • "A Coat of Many Colours", radio play, broadcast on BBC Radio 4 26 March 1979. For further details click here.

1976-87: works as a freelance features journalist for the Telegraph and other newspapers. To read a sample of Crace’s journalism click here.

1976: ‘Cross-Country’ appears in the New Review. After significant revision, this story becomes the starting-point for Continent (1986).

1986: publishes Continent, his first book, a themed sequence of stories. Continent wins the Whitbread First Novel of the Year Award, the David Higham Prize for Fiction, and the Guardian Fiction prize.

1987: Continent is widely translated (to date, Crace’s work has been translated into nineteen languages: Brazilian Portuguese, Croatian, Danish, Dutch, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Lithuanian, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Spanish, Swedish, and Turkish). Financial success of Continent enables Crace to leave journalism and concentrate on writing fiction.

1988: publishes The Gift of Stones, a novel. The Gift of Stones wins the GAP International Prize for Literature. In Italy, Continent wins the Premio Antico Fattore.

1992: publishes Arcadia, a novel. Receives the Society of Authors’ Travelling Scholarship.

1993: publishes "Hearts of Oak", a memoir of his father, in 21 (Picador, 1993). To read "Hearts of Oak", click here.

1994: publishes Signals of Distress, a novel. Signals of Distress wins the Royal Society of Literature’s Winifred Holtby Memorial Prize.

1995: publishes The Slow Digestions of the Night, a collection of five stories with a food theme, as a ‘Penguin 60’ (small format paperback). The stories are subsequently anthologised in The Penguin Collection (1995) and become the starting-point for The Devil’s Larder (published 2001).

1996: receives the American Academy of Arts and Letters E.M. Forster Award (given to a writer from England, Ireland, Scotland or Wales for a stay in the United States). Uses the award to travel down the Outer Banks and the barrier islands of the US eastern seaboard, ‘stealing the landscapes for Being Dead’.

1997: publishes Quarantine, a novel. Quarantine is shortlisted for the Booker Prize and The Writers’ Guild Best Fiction Book, and wins the Whitbread Novel of the Year Award.

1998: Elected member of the Management Committee of the Society of Authors. Along with other writers and artists, writes an open letter condemning ‘crude police censorship’ in the case of the seizure of a book by Robert Mapplethorpe from the library of the University of Central England. Criticises the practice, damaging to journalists, of newspapers who ask cultural figures to provide arts copy, in exchange for mention of their own work instead of a fee.

1999: publishes Being Dead, a novel. Being Dead is shortlisted for the Whitbread Novel of the Year Award and the Booker Prize. Elected as Fellow of The Royal Society of Literature. Quarantine shortlisted for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award.

March 3, 2000: receives Honorary Doctorate (D.Univ.) from the University of Central England for Distinguished Literary Achievements.

April 27, 2000: Quarantine, adapted for the stage by Ben Payne, opens at the Birmingham Repertory Theatre.

2001: Being Dead wins the National Book Critics’ Circle award (USA). Crace publishes The Devil's Larder, a ‘cumulative novel’ on the theme of food.

2003: publishes Six, about the actor and (unwitting) father Felix Dern, a man cursed by fertility.

2007: publishes The Pest House, a love story set in a quasi-medieval future America. The first full-length critical study of his work, Jim Crace by Professor Philip Tew, published.

2008: Distinguished Writer in Residence at the James Michener Center, University of Texas, Austin.

2010: publishes All That Follows, a novel about music and the political life. Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, University of Texas, Austin opens its archive of Jim Crace documents (acquired in 2008).

2012: second residence at University of Texas.

2013: publishes Harvest, about the fate of an English agricultural community during the Enclosures.

2018: a new novel…!