- Bill Bryson
name =Bill Bryson
imagesize = 115px
birthdate=Birth date and age|df=yes|1951|12|8
Des Moines, Iowa, U.S.A.
occupation= Author, University Chancellor
Travel, English language, Science
website = http://www.booksattransworld.co.uk/billbryson/
William McGuire "Bill" Bryson, OBE, (born 8 December 1951) is a best-selling American
authorof humorous books on travel, as well as books on the English languageand on scientific subjects. He had been a resident of North Yorkshire, England, for most of his adult life, before moving back to the US in 1995. He has since returned to Norfolk, England in 2003.
Bill Bryson was born in
Des Moines, Iowa, the son of William and Mary Bryson. He has an older brother, Michael, and a sister, Mary Elizabeth.
Bryson was educated at
Drake Universitybut dropped out in 1972, deciding to backpack around Europe for four months. He returned to Europe the following year with his high-school friend, the pseudonymous Stephen Katz. Some of his experiences from this trip are relived as flashbacks in "", which documents a similar journey Bryson made twenty years later.
Bryson first visited the
United Kingdomin 1973 during a tour of Europe, and decided to stay after landing a job working in a psychiatric hospital - the now defunct Holloway Sanatorium in Virginia Water, Surrey. It was there that he met a nurse named Cynthia, whom he eventually married. The couple returned to the USA in 1975 so Bryson could complete his college degree, after which, in 1977, they settled in England, where they remained until 1995. Living in North Yorkshireand mainly working as a journalist, Bryson eventually became chief sub editorof the business section of " The Times", and then deputy national news editor of the business section of " The Independent". He left journalismin 1987, three years after the birth of his third child. Still living in Yorkshire, Bryson started writing independently and in 1990 their fourth and final child, Sam, was born.
In 1995, Bryson returned to the United States to live in
Hanover, New Hampshirefor some years, the stories of which feature in his book "I'm A Stranger Here Myself", alternatively titled "Notes from a Big Country" in the United Kingdomand Canada. In 2003, however, the Brysons and their four children returned to England, and now live near Wymondham, Norfolk.
Also in 2003, in conjunction with World Book Day, voters in the
United Kingdomchose Bryson's book " Notes from a Small Island" as that which best sums up British identity and the state of the nation. [cite news
title=Bryson tops 'England' poll
accessdate=2008-08-05] In the same year, he was appointed a Commissioner for
In 2004, Bryson won the prestigious Aventis Prize for best general science book with "
A Short History of Nearly Everything".Citation| first = Michelle | last = Pauli| title = Bryson wins Descartes prize for his guide to science| newspaper = The Guardian| date = 2005-12-07| url = http://education.guardian.co.uk/higher/profile/story/0,11109,1642405,00.html] This 500-page popular literature piece explores not only the histories and current statuses of the sciences, but also reveals their humble and often humorous beginnings. Although one "top scientist" is alleged to have jokingly described the book as "annoyingly free of mistakes",Citation| title = Bill Bryson: The accidental chancellor| newspaper = The Guardian| date = 2005-11-15| url = http://education.guardian.co.uk/higher/profile/story/0,11109,1642405,00.html] Bryson himself makes no such claim, and a list of seven [http://errata.wikidot.com/0767908171 reported errors in the book] is available online, identifying the chapter in which each appears but with no page or line references. In 2005, the book won the EU Descartes Prizefor science communication.
Bryson has also written two popular works on the history of the English language — "Mother Tongue" and "Made in America" — and, more recently, an update of his guide to usage, "
Bryson's Dictionary of Troublesome Words" (published in its first edition as "The Penguin Dictionary of Troublesome Words" in 1983). These books were popularly acclaimed and well-reviewed, though they received criticism from academics in the field, who claimed they contained factual errors, urban myths, and folk etymologies. Though Bryson has no formal linguistics qualifications, he is generally a well-regarded writer on the subject of languages.
In 2005, Bryson was appointed Chancellor of
Durham University, succeeding the late Sir Peter Ustinov, and has been particularly active with student activities, even appearing in a Durham student film: the sequel to " The Assassinator" and promoting litter picks in the city [cite news
title=Bill Bryson Litter Pick
accessdate=2008-11-07] . He had praised Durham as "a perfect little city" in "Notes from a Small Island". He has also been awarded honorary degrees by numerous universities.
In 2006, Bryson ran (as part of a celebrity relay team) in the
Tresco marathon, the Scillian equivalent of the London marathon. The same year, Frank Cownie, the mayorof Des Moines, awarded Bryson the key to the city and announced that 21 October 2006 would be known as, "Bill Bryson - "The Thunderbolt Kid" day." [http://www.randomhouse.com/features/billbryson/news/CityofDesMoinesProclamation.pdf]
In November 2006, Bryson interviewed Prime Minister
Tony Blairon the state of science and education. [ [http://www.number10.gov.uk/output/Page10500.asp PM in conversation with Bill Bryson ] ]
On 13 December 2006, Bryson was awarded an honorary OBE for his contribution to literature. [cite news
title=Bill Bryson made an honorary OBE
accessdate=2008-08-05] The following year, he was awarded the James Joyce Award of the
Literary and Historical Societyof University College Dublin.
In January 2007, Bryson was the Schwartz Visiting Fellow of the
Pomfret Schoolin Connecticut. [http://www.norwichbulletin.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070121/NEWS01/70121003]
In May 2007, he became the President of the
Campaign to Protect Rural England. [cite news
title=Bryson to head litterbug campaign
accessdate=2008-08-05] [ [http://www.cpre.org.uk/news/view/382 CPRE - Bill Bryson set to be CPRE's new President ] ] His first area focus in this role was the establishment of an anti-littering campaign across England. He discussed the future of the countryside with
Richard Mabey, Sue Clifford, Nicholas Craneand Richard Girlingat CPRE's Volunteer Conference in November 2007.
*"The Palace Under the Alps and Over 200 Other Unusual, Unspoiled, and Infrequently Visited Spots in 16 European Countries" (1985)
Notes from a Small Island" (1995) (travels in the United Kingdom, his farewell to the country he was temporarily leaving; adapted for television by Carlton Televisionin 1998)
*"" (1998) (co-stars Stephen Katz)
Notes from a Big Country" (UK) / "" (US) (1998) (columns about moving back to the USA)
* "Down Under" (UK) / "In a Sunburned Country" (US) (2000) (travels in
Bill Bryson's African Diary" (2002) (travels in Africafor CARE International, to whom all royalties and profits were donated)
*"Walk About" (2002) (Combined in one volume are "Down Under" and "A Walk in the Woods")
*"The Penguin Dictionary of Troublesome Words" (1984)
Bryson's Dictionary of Troublesome Words" (2002)
*"Journeys in English" (2004) (BBC 4 Radio production, based on "The Mother Tongue")
*"Bryson's Dictionary for Writers and Editors" (2008)
A Short History of Nearly Everything" (2003)
*"A Really Short History of Nearly Everything" (2008) (Children's version of 2003 book)
The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid" (2006)
* [http://www.booksattransworld.co.uk/billbryson Official UK Bill Bryson website]
* [http://www.randomhouse.com/features/billbryson/home.html Bryson at Random House]
* [http://www.royalsoc.ac.uk/page.asp?tip=1&id=3581 Bill Bryson - A short history of nearly everything presentation] at the
*imdb name|id=0117445|name=Bill Bryson
* [http://www.vidlit.com/bryson A brief excerpt from "The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid"]
* [http://www.metacritic.com/books/authors/brysonbill/lifeandtimesofthethunderboltkid "The Life & Times of the Thunderbolt Kid" Reviews] at
* [http://www.bbc.co.uk/wear/content/articles/2008/04/03/bill_bryson_2008_feature.shtml BBC Wear - Bill Bryson loves Durham]
* [http://www.durham21.co.uk/archive/archive.asp?ID=3505 Interview with Bill Bryson about organ donation]
* [http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio/aod/mainframe.shtml?http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio/aod/fivelive_aod.shtml?fivelive/billbryson_countryside BBC Radio Five Live interview with Bill Bryson about the British countryside]
* [http://www.cpre.org.uk/about/people/south-downs-national-park CPRE interview on the proposed South Downs National Park]
* [http://www.st-christophers.co.uk/backpacker-resources/interviews/bill-bryson-interview Interview with Bill Bryson about his career in travel writing.]
NAME= Bryson, William McGuire
ALTERNATIVE NAMES= Bryson, Bill
SHORT DESCRIPTION= American author
DATE OF BIRTH= Birth date and age|df=yes|1951|12|8
PLACE OF BIRTH=
Des Moines, Iowa, United States
DATE OF DEATH=
PLACE OF DEATH=
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