Paul Pickering

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Paul Pickering
Paul Pickering 006.jpg
Born (1952-05-09) 9 May 1952 (age 66)
Rotherham, Yorkshire
OccupationNovelist and playwright
Known forWild About Harry, Perfect English, The Blue Gate of Babylon, Charlie Peace, The Leopard's Wife, Over The Rainbow

Paul Pickering (born 9 May 1952) is a British novelist and playwright.

Early life[edit]

Pickering was born in Rotherham, Yorkshire, the son of Arthur Samuel Pickering and Lorna (née Grocock).[1] He was educated at the Royal Masonic School for Boys in Bushey, Hertfordshire, and at the University of Leicester.[2]


Pickering started his career as a journalist but wrote his first novel, Wild About Harry, after an assignment to Paraguay to find the war criminal Josef Mengele.[3] The novel was both a critical and popular success and was long listed for the Man Booker Prize.[4] His second novel, Perfect English, about a young "Internationalista" in Nicaragua, was long listed for the Man Booker Prize and became another best seller.[5] His next novel, The Blue Gate of Babylon, also long listed for the Man Booker Prize, was also a best-seller and was chosen by The New York Times as a notable book of the year[6] and Pickering was chosen as one of WH Smith's top ten young British novelists.[7] Charlie Peace, his next controversial novel about the second coming of Christ in modern times, drew the quote from J. G. Ballard that Pickering was 'a truly subversive author' and called the decision not to publish the book in Britain 'pure censorship'.[8] The controversy led The Sunday Times to dub him 'the de facto Norman Mailer of the British Literati'.[9] After a near fatal stabbing in the Groucho Club in 1997 that blinded him in one eye,[10] Pickering went to the Democratic Republic of the Congo in the last stages of the civil war, and produced The Leopard's Wife to favourable reviews.[11] He then went to Afghanistan for his most recent novel Over the Rainbow, which will be published in 2012.[12] Pickering has written short stories, poems and articles for publications all over the world. His work has been compared to that of Evelyn Waugh and Graham Greene.[13]

Personal life[edit]

Pickering married Alice (née Beckett) in 1983 in Mahé in the Seychelles. They have one daughter, Persephone, born 1993.

Honours and awards[edit]




  • After Hamlet (1994)
  • Walk Her Home (1999)


  1. ^ Debrett's People of Today 2011, Debrett's, p. 1318, ISBN 978-1-870520-46-1
  2. ^ Debrett's People of Today
  3. ^ Profile and interview in The Guardian, 23 March 1985.
  4. ^ The Observer, 14 April 1985; "Booker contenders", The Bookseller, 29 June 1985; The Times, 11 April 1985; "Times Critics' Choice", The Times, 30 November 1985; "Christmas Books", The Observer, 1 December 1985; The Tablet, 25 May 1985; Punch, 29 May 1985; Winston-Salem Journal, 1 December 1985; The Philadelphia Inquirer, 15 December 1985; San Francisco Chronicle, 12 January 1986.
  5. ^ Good Book Guide Annual Selection 1989; Number 2 in Fiction Bestseller list, The Irish Times, 8 November 1986; Stanley Reynolds, "Pickering is the Michael Frayn of the 1980's", Punch, 19 October 1985; "Booker Long List", The Bookseller, 23 August 1986; Toby Fitton, The Times Literary Supplement, 31 October 1986; Paula Johnson, "Best From the Famous", Daily Mail, 21 September 1986; Philip Howard, The Times, 2 October 1986
  6. ^ The New York Times book review, 17 December 1989, and "Notable Books of the Year", 2 December 1990
  7. ^ "Best of Young British", W H Smith News, May 1985
  8. ^ John Walsh, The Sunday Times, 17 November 1991
  9. ^ John Walsh, The Sunday Times, 17 November 1991
  10. ^ Daily Express. 9 June 2000; "Groucho Pays Out Damages", Diary, Daily Express, 6 June 2000
  11. ^ Katie Saunders, The Times, 30 July 2010; Max Davidson, The Mail on Sunday, 11 July 2010; Review: The Leopard's Wife – Paul Pickering, Jane Housham, Daily Express, 30 June 2010
  12. ^ How I had tea and biscuits with the Taliban, by British novelist, Mail on Sunday, 8 November 2009.
  13. ^ Andrew Sinclair, review of Wild About Harry, The Times, 11 April 1985; David Holloway, review of Wild About Harry, magazine supplement in The Sunday Telegraph, 13 April 1985; Stephen Glover, review of Wild About Harry, The Daily Telegraph, 19 April 1985; John Sweeney, review of Wild About Harry, The Tablet, 25 May 1985; Christopher Pim, review of Wild About Harry, Punch, 29 May 1985; David White, review of Wild About Harry, New Society, 7 June 1875; Richard Burgin, review of Wild About Harry, The Philadelphia Inquirer, 15 December 1985; Carl Maves, review of Wild About Harry, San Francisco Chronicle, 12 April 1986; Stanley Reynolds, review of Perfect English, Punch, 1 October 1986; Sean French, review of Perfect English, New Society, 3 October 1986; Nicole Zand, review of The Blue Gate of Babylon, Le Monde des Livres, 24 March 1995

External links[edit]