|Alan Hollinghurst was born in Gloucestershire in
1954, and read English at Magdalen College, Oxford. He was
an editor on the Times Literary Supplement from 1982
novel The Swimming Pool Library, published
in 1988, won a Somerset Maugham Award, and led to his selection
as one of the Best of Young British Novelists
in 1993. The novel centres on the friendship between a young,
gay aristocrat and an elderly Lord who is searching for
someone to write his biography. It gives a vivid account
of London gay life before AIDS and a longer perspective
on the homosexual history of 20th-century Britain. It has
been widely seen as a cross-over book, which
introduced gay sexual material to a wider mainstream audience.
second novel The Folding Star shortlisted
for the 1994 Booker Prize, is a darker and more introspective
work, described by the New York Review of Books as
a miniature Remembrance Of Things Past....an
expanded Death In Venice....a homosexual Lolita.
It follows the obsession of a 33-year-old Englishman, Edward
Manners, with a 17-year-old Flemish boy to whom he is teaching
English. Through the parallel history, of a turn-of-the-century
Belgian symbolist painter, Edgar Orst, the novel opens out
into a complex examination of love, time and the redemptive
powers of art.
has a vein of broad sexual comedy, an element that comes
to the fore in Hollinghursts third novel The
Spell (1998), in which four men - a middle-aged
architect, his son, his lover, and his lovers ex-lover
- perform a complicated dance of desires and betrayals against
a background of the English countryside and Londons
hedonist club scene. Lighter
in tone, it has been described by one British critic as
Jane Austen on ecstasy. Like all Hollinghursts
work, it is a study in the often destructive power of the
appetites and in the illusions of love.
Swimming Pool Library, 1988, Chatto & Windus.
Folding Star, 1994, Chatto & Windus.
Spell, 1998, Chatto & Windus.
Alan Hollinghurst as editor:
New Writing 4, 1995 (with A S Byatt), Vintage.
Alan Hollinghurst as translator:
Bajazet by Jean Racine, translated from French, 1991, Chatto