UK | 2008, 2014, 2019
Edward Docx was born in the north of England. He grew up in Manchester and London. After school, he went to Christ’s College, Cambridge, where he read English Literature and was Junior Common Room President. He began his professional writing career working on the national newspapers.
In 2003, his first novel, The Calligrapher, was published to widespread acclaim. It was selected by the San Francisco Chronicle as a Best Book of the Year and was a finalist of The William Saroyan prize at Stanford University. It is now translated into eight languages.
In 2007, his second novel, Pravda (entitled Self Help in the UK), was published; it was long-listed for the Man Booker and went on to win The Geoffrey Faber Prize.
In 2003 and then again in 2007, Docx travelled in South America as part of the research for his third novel, The Devil’s Garden, which is now out in paperback.
Edward Docx has written for The Times, The Telegraph, The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Guardian, The Observer, Vogue and The Independent. His most recent journalism appears in The Guardian and Prospect Magazine. He has presented arts and politics on television and radio and regularly appears as a cultural commentator. He lives in London very close to the River Thames.
When you step through the main entrance of Santa Maddalena — from smoky Tuscan woodland into chiaroscuro Tuscan cool — you are confronted by what must surely be the most impressive visitors’ book in world literature. Approximately 18in tall and 2ft wide, it stands, always open, at the foot of the stairs that lead up to the library, as if it were a Biblical tablet brought down from the mountains by some local colossus of letters past — Dante, perhaps, or Boccaccio.
On my first visit here in 2008, I made the terrible mistake of reading it there and then. I had come to work on my third novel. I wanted an empty sky, bed, soul. Instead, whom did I find crawling across these great pages, in their many crazy hands, but the finest writers available to humanity.