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Richardson, Nigel 1957–

Richardson, Nigel 1957–

Personal

Born 1957, in Wolverhampton, England.

Addresses

Home—London, England. Agent—Clare Alexander, Aitken Alexander Associates, 18-21 Cavaye Pl., London SW10 9PT, England.

Career

Travel writer, novelist, and journalist. Deputy travel editor of Daily Telegraph, London, England, for thirteen years.

Awards, Honors

Manchester Book Award nominee, 2008, for The Wrong Hands.

Writings

Breakfast in Brighton, Gollancz (London, England), 1998.

Dog Days in Soho: One Man's Adventures in 1950s Bohemia, Gollancz (London, England), 2000.

(Author of foreword) Jon Nicholson, A1: Portrait of a Road, HarperCollins Illustrated (London, England), 2000.

Contributor to periodicals, including Daily Telegraph.

FICTION

The Wrong Hands, Oxford University Press (London, England), 2005, Knopf (New York, NY), 2006.

The Rope Ladder, Oxford University Press (London, England), 2007.

RADIO PLAYS

Breakfast in Brighton (based on author's work of the same name), BBC Radio 4, 2000.

The Gargoyle Club, BBC Radio 4, 2003.

The Gateways Club, BBC Radio 4, 2003.

The Disappearing Island, BBC Radio 4, 2004.

Chacabuco, BBC Radio 4, 2005.

Adaptations

The Wrong Hands was adapted as an audiobook, Listening Library, 2006.

Sidelights

Nigel Richardson is a British travel writer, novelist, and journalist. Born in Wolverhampton, England, in 1957, Richardson spent thirteen years as the deputy travel editor of the London Daily Telegraph. Among his many adventures, he has searched for jaguar in the Pantanal region of Brazil, examined ancient ruins in Libya, and toured the remotest corners of Transylvania. Richardson has also penned two works of nonfiction, a number of dramas for BBC Radio Four, and the young-adult novels The Wrong Hands and The Rope Ladder.

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Richardson published his first work, the critically acclaimed travelogue Breakfast in Brighton, in 1998. Described by London Daily Telegraph reviewer Carole Cadwalladr as "a book that really gets under the surface of England's most interesting seaside town," Breakfast in Brighton offers a history of the popular resort and looks at some of the eccentric characters who inhabit the town. "Though seemingly small in scale," observed Adam Hopkins in the London Independent, "this is a surprisingly ambitious book, full of good-fun phrasing and those curious factive fictions that lurk on the border between literature and human topography."

In Dog Days in Soho: One Man's Adventures in 1950s Bohemia, described on its author's home page as "a partly fictionalised and periodically surreal account of true events," Richardson explores a turbulent time in London's famed entertainment district, a haven for creative artists. In particular, he examines the relationships between his long-time acquaintance Josh Avery and celebrated painter Francis Bacon, photographer Daniel Farson, and poet William Empson. According to a contributor in the Independent, Richardson writes of his friend "with great humanity."

The Wrong Hands, a novel deemed "part thriller, part fable" by London Daily Telegraph contributor Dinah Hall, appeared in 2005. The work concerns fourteen-year-old Graham Sinclair, a social outcast known as "Spakky" because his grotesquely deformed hands have unusually large, webbed fingers. Graham's home life is equally lonely: his father ignores him and his mother suffers from mental illness. When Graham confides in a girl that his hands have special powers, he is accused of attempting to sexually molest her and must register as a sex offender. Sent to live with his uncle in London, Graham becomes a national hero after miraculously rescuing a baby from a burning building. Soon after, the teen receives a cryptic e-mail from a woman who witnessed the event in which she demands an explanation of the incredible episode. "The mix of contemporary technology with magical realism makes for a thrilling mystery," observed Booklist critic Hazel Rochman in a review of The Wrong Hands. A contributor in Kirkus Reviews praised Richardson's novel as "a riveting psychological exploration of mutant powers grounded in the sad realities of everyday life." Several critics praised the author's prose for its introspective tone; writing in Kliatt, for example, Myrna Marler stated that "readers can debate what the author is trying to say about how innocence leaves a person both vulnerable and protected and the acceptance of everyday wonders."

Richardson developed the idea for his next YA novel, The Rope Ladder, after learning of a friend's terminal illness. In this story, fifteen-year-old Mungo McFall finds his life unraveling after his father dies unexpectedly and his mother decides to move to the country. In his new village, the grieving teen encounters a bizarre young man, also named Mungo, who possesses strange abilities.

Biographical and Critical Sources

PERIODICALS

Booklist, August 1, 2006, Hazel Rochman, review of The Wrong Hands, p. 68; November 15, 2006, Holly Gepson, review of The Wrong Hands, p. 66.

Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, October, 2006, Loretta Gaffney, review of The Wrong Hands, p. 91.

Daily Telegraph (London, England), July 20, 1998, Carole Cadwalladr, review of Breakfast in Brighton; July 18, 2005, Dinah Hall, "Are We Nearly There?," review of The Wrong Hands.

Independent (London, England), May 11, 1998, Adam Hopkins, review of Breakfast in Brighton; June 24, 2001, review of Dog Days in Soho: One Man's Adventures in 1950s Bohemia.

Kirkus Reviews, July 1, 2006, review of The Wrong Hands, p. 681.

Kliatt, July, 2006, Myrna Marler, review of The Wrong Hands, p. 13.

School Library Journal, October, 2006, Sharon Rawlins, review of The Wrong Hands, p. 168.

Voice of Youth Advocates, December, 2006, Susan Allen, review of The Wrong Hands, p. 450.

ONLINE

Nigel Richardson Home Page,http://www.nigel-richardson.co.uk (February 1, 2008).

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