TREVOR, William

(1928 - 2016)
“I get melancholy if I don't [write]. I need the company of people who don't exist.”

Novelist and short story writer, William Trevor Cox was born in Mitchelstown, Co. Cork but lived most of his adult life in Devon, England with his wife and their children. To earn a living, he worked as a sculptor, teacher and copywriter but his passion was always writing.  His first novel, A Standard of Behaviour was published in 1958 but his breakthrough success came with The Old Boys [1964]which received a pre-publication testimonial from Evelyn Waugh and won the Hawthornden Prize the following year.  The success of the novel persuaded him to become a full-time writer and the following years saw a prolific outpouring of novels, short stories and TV plays, all written with his trademark merciless observational eye and sardonic pen. His style was always one of beautifully composed, lyrical, understated prose, which was particularly suited to short stories. He once said of himself "[I am] a short story writer who happens to write novels, not the other way around" ; The Day We Got Drunk on Cake [1967] shows his absolute mastery of the short form - the “gleefully heartless” title story drawing on his ad agency experiences.  He was described as “the most astute observer of the human condition currently writing in fiction” and he explained this by noting “I am very interested in people. I am curious.  I want to know why, how they live. If I see that woman over there, I want to know why she has ended up like this; what happened to her?”  

Upon his death in November 2016, the Irish President, Michael Higgens, wrote “The work of William Trevor was widely regard by his peers and critics as being among the finest literary works produced in Ireland” 

In addition to the Hawthornden Prize, Trevor was nominated for the Booker Prize five times, won the Whitbread Prize three time, was awarded an honorary knighthood in 2002 in recognition of his services to literature and was elected Saoi of the Aosdana in 2015

 

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Books by this author

After Rain

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Marrying Damian

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Felicia's Journey

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Excursions in the Real World

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Family Sins

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The Silence in the Garden

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Scenes From an Album

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Lovers of Their Time

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