Michael Cox (novelist)
Michael Andrew Cox (1948-2009)
Michael Cox attended Wellingborough Grammar School, later graduating from St. Catharine's College, Cambridge in 1971. He studied English and had intended to be an academic, but he instead signed a contract with the record-publishing group EMI and made two albums and several singles under the pseudonym Matthew Ellis. He also recorded an album for DJM as Obie Clayton.
Cox dedicated both of his novels to Dizzy Crockett whom he married in 1973. They later had a daughter.
In 1977, he joined Thorsons Publishing Group (later part of Harper Collins)
Cox first book was a biography of M. R. James, a Victorian ghost story writer and this was published in 1983 by Oxford University Press. Between 1983 and 1997 he compiled and edited several anthologies of Victorian short stories for Oxford University Press and the first two were co-edited by R. A. Gilbert.
In 1989 Cox joined Oxford University Press, where he became senior commissioning editor and there completed encyclopaedic work: compiling A Dictionary of Writers and their Works (1991) and The Oxford Chronology of English Literature (2002).
His first novel, The Meaning of Night, was published in 2006 and was shortlisted for the 2006 Costa first novel award. Inspired by authors such as Charles Dickens (a childhood favorite), Wilkie Collins, and Elizabeth Braddon, this thriller novel is set both in a dirty, corrupting 1850's London, and Evenwood, an idyllic country estate - both equally full of mysteries. It was followed by a sequel, The Glass of Time set twenty years later.
In 1992 Cox noticed that he had breathing difficulties and it was discovered that he had an unusual tumour in his left nostril. This was treated, but during his five-year check up, a further tumour was noted on his pituitary gland In April 2004, he began to lose his sight as a result of a rare vascular cancer, haemangiopericytoma. In preparation for surgery he was prescribed the steroidal drug, dexamethasone, one of the effects of which was to initiate a temporary burst of mental and physical energy. This, combined with the stark realization that his blindness might return if the treatment wasn't successful, spurred Michael finally to begin writing in earnest the novel that he had been contemplating for over thirty years, and which up to then had only existed as a random collection of notes, drafts, and discarded first chapters. Following surgery, work continued on what is now The Meaning of Night, and in January 2005, after a hotly contested UK auction, it was sold to John Murray (a subdivision of Hodder Headline) for £430,000 Michael Cox died of cancer on 31 March 2009.
- "Michael Cox: Obituary". Telegraph. 3 April 2009.
- "The Guardian, Monday 6 April 2009"
- The Times 4 April 2009 Michael Cox: Publisher's editor who scored a...