Webb, Nick 1959–
Webb, Nick 1959–
PERSONAL: Born 1959; married; wife's name Sue.
ADDRESSES: Home—Hackney, England. Agent—c/o Author Mail, Ballantine Books, 1745 Broadway, New York, NY 10019.
CAREER: Writer. Pan Books, London, England, former senior fiction editor.
Wish You Were Here: The Official Biography of Douglas Adams, Headline (London, England), 2003, Ballantine Books (New York, NY), 2005.
SIDELIGHTS: In the 1970s Nick Webb was a fiction editor for Pan Books, a successful publishing company located in England. A series of radio plays titled The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy piqued Webb's interest and in 1978 he approached the show's writers, Douglas Adams and John Lloyd, about committing the series to the page. Pan bought the rights to the first book in 1979, and the "Hitchhiker" series of novels—written solely by Adams—went on to become hugely successful. Although Webb soon moved on to work for other publishing companies, he maintained a close friendship with Adams until the author's death in 2001. Armed with Adams' personal files and access to family members, friends, and colleagues for interviews, Webb set out to chronicle the author's life story. The resulting work is Wish You Were Here: The Official Biography of Douglas Adams, published in the United Kingdom in 2003 and the United States in 2005.
Carl Hays, writing for Booklist, called Wish You Were Here "easily the best of several existing Adams biographies" and "a fascinating, witty portrait of a cultural icon." Library Journal contributor Kathryn R. Bartelt remarked that "Webb's informal, intimate writing style works well, and his insights are rendered with a great deal of affection." MBR Bookwatch reviewer Harriet Klausner described the book as a "masterful job," further commenting: "The well-written biography is parts irreverent (Mr. Adams must have provided divine guidance for that inclusion) and parts insightful." "If only all biographies could be this much fun," remarked a Kirkus Reviews contributor, who called the biography "a warm and humorous exploration of a generation's answer to Vonnegut—and Einstein." Greg Stepanich, writing in the Palm Beach Post, deemed Wish You Were Here "a chatty, dazzling, beautifully written eulogy for a friend" and "a flat-out joy to read."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, March 1, 2005, Carl Hays, review of Wish You Were Here: The Official Biography of Douglas Adams, p. 1132.
English Historical Review, February, 2001, Stephen Bowd, review of The Renaissance in Europe: An Anthology, p. 208.
Library Journal, March 1, 2005, Kathryn R. Bartelt, review of Wish You Were Here, p. 86.
MBR Bookwatch, March, 2005, Harriet Klausner, review of Wish You Were Here.
Palm Beach Post, June 26, 2005, Greg Stepanich, "'Hitchhiker's' Biography Celebrates His Journey."
Publishers Weekly, January 17, 2005, review of Wish You Were Here, p. 43.
Douglas Adams Continuum, http://www.douglasadams.se/ (July 16, 2005), interview with Nick Webb.