Life and work
Educated at Millfield School in Somerset and at Brasenose College, Oxford, Mawer took a degree in Zoology and has worked as a biology teacher for most of his life. He published his first novel, Chimera, (Hamish Hamilton, 1989) at the comparatively late age of thirty-nine. It won the McKitterick Prize for first novels. Mendel's Dwarf followed three works of modest success and established him as a writer of note on both sides of the Atlantic. The New York Times described it as a "thematically ambitious and witty novel". The option on a film version was sold first to Uzo and then to Barbra Streisand. The Gospel of Judas and The Fall followed. More recently, he published Swimming to Ithaca, a novel partially inspired by his childhood on the island of Cyprus. A book called A place in Italy (1992), written in the wake of A year in Provence, recounts the first two years in the village in Italy he went to live in. He has mounted one other foray into the field of non-fiction, Gregor Mendel: Planting the Seeds of Genetics, which was published in conjunction with the Field Museum of Chicago as a companion volume to the museum's current exhibition of the same name.
In 2009, Mawer published The Glass Room, a novel about a modernist villa built in a Czech city in 1928. Mawer has acknowledged that the book was primarily inspired by the Villa Tugendhat which was designed by architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and built in Brno in the Czech Republic in 1928–30.
His 2012 book The Girl Who Fell from the Sky/Trapeze was received positively on both sides of the Atlantic, described as "a professionally crafted and engaging story" and a "skillfully and intelligently executed thriller". In 2015 he published Tightrope, a follow-on novel from The Girl Who Fell from the Sky. Tightrope has been described as "...skilful evocation of a mind under stress."
- Chimera (1989)
- A Place in Italy (1992) (Nonfiction)
- The Bitter Cross (1992)
- A Jealous God (1996)
- Mendel's Dwarf (1997)
- The Gospel of Judas (2000)
- The Fall (2003)
- Swimming to Ithaca (2006)
- Gregor Mendel: Planting the Seeds of Genetics (2006) (Nonfiction)
- The Glass Room (2009)
- The Girl Who Fell from the Sky, published in the United States by Other Press as Trapeze (2012)
- Tightrope (2015)
Awards and honors
- 1990 McKitterick Prize for first novels, Chimera
- 2003 Boardman Tasker Prize for Mountain Literature, The Fall
- 2003 Man Booker Prize, longlist, The Fall
- 2009 Man Booker Prize, shortlist, The Glass Room
- 2010 Walter Scott Prize, shortlist, The Glass Room
- 2016 Walter Scott Prize, winner, Tightrope
- "The Glass Room: Author Biography". The Man Booker Prize. Retrieved 15 July 2012.
- Prose, Francine (22 March 1998). "Get Out the Chromosomal Map". The New York Times. Retrieved 15 July 2012.
- Vaughan, David (5 July 2010). "Simon Mawer talks about The Glass Room". radio.cz. Retrieved 14 September 2010.
- Miller, Lucasta (11 May 2012). "The Girl Who Fell from the Sky by Simon Mawer – review". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 15 July 2012.
- Smith, Wendy (11 June 2012). "'Trapeze,' by Simon Mawer". The Washington Post. Retrieved 15 July 2012.
- Haxelton, Claire (9 August 2015). "Simon Mawer - Tightrope review". The Guardian. Retrieved 20 August 2015.
- "Man Booker shortlist is announced". BBC News. 8 September 2009. Retrieved 8 September 2009.
- "Booker rivals clash again on Walter Scott prize shortlist", The Guardian, 2 Apr 2010
- "The winner of the 2016 Walter Scott Prize is announced!". Walter Scott Prize. 18 June 2016. Retrieved 20 June 2016.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Simon Mawer.|