Irish Author and Playwright (1928- )

He was born William Trevor Cox in Mitchelstown, County Cork in the Republic of Ireland on the 24th May 1928. Both of his parents were Protestant, his father's family came from County Roscommon in the west of Ireland, while his mother was an Ulster Scot. His father William Cox was a bank manager who was moved from branch to branch during much of his early life and so he attended thirteen different schools during his childhood and often experienced periods where he did not go to school at all. He ended up at St Columba's College in County Dublin where he felt so intimidated by the resident literary clique that he abandonded his determination to be a journalist, and took up scuplting instead

In 1946 he went to Trinity College, Dublin where he studied history and after graduating in 1950 taught both history and art at schools in Armagh. In 1952 he left Ireland for England and continued his teaching career at Rugby from 1952 to 1956 and then at Taunton from 1956 to 1960. Throughout this time he tried to establish himself as a sculptor, but despite some minor success with exhibitions held in both Dublin and London he eventually lost interest, and ended up employed as a copywriter for an advertising agency in London in 1960. His first novel, A Standard of Behaviour, had been published in 1958 without much success and he wrote his next novel The Old Boys entirely in the firm's time and used the office copy machine to run off whatever copies he needed. The success of The Old Boys enabled him to leave the advertising business and become a full-time writer in 1965.

Since that time William Trevor has become one of the most prolific writers Ireland has produced with sixteen novels, a number of stage plays and scripts for both radio and television dramas to his name. He is however best known for his short stories which have been regularly anthologised and published in a number of collections.

According to the British Council "His fiction, set mainly in Ireland and England, ranges from black comedies characterised by eccentrics and sexual deviants to stories exploring Irish history and politics, and he articulates the tensions between Irish Protestant landowners and Catholic tenants in what critics have termed the 'big house' novel." While the critic Dolores MacKenna believes him to be "a moralist whose best work is about the nature of evil, guilt and madness, and that his perspective is that of an outsider, an "all-seeing observer of people."

Prizes and Awards

The Old Boys won the Hawthornden Prize for 1965; Angels at the Ritz won the 1976 Heinemann Award and The Silence in the Garden won the Yorkshire Post Book Award in 1988. He has twice been the winner of the Whitbread Novel Award, in 1978 for The Children of Dynmouth and again in 1983 for Fools of Fortune in 1983, and having been placed on the shortlist four times, he finally won the Irish Times Irish Literature Prize for Fiction in 2001 for The Hill Bachelors, a book which also brought him the PEN/Macmillan Silver Pen Award for Short Stories. Felicia's Journey won both the Whitbread Book of the Year and the Sunday Express Book of the Year awards for 1994. Trevor has also won the Bennett Award for 1990, the Sunday Times Award for Literary Excellence in 1992, the Lannan Literary Award 1996, and the David Cohen British Literature Prize in 1999, and has twice been winner of the Giles Cooper Award for a radio play.

He was awarded an honorary CBE in 1977 for his services to literature, was made a Companion of Literature in 1994, and is a member of the Irish Academy of Letters. William Trevor now lives in Devon. He is married to Jane Ryan, and has two sons.


Short story Collections


(*Contains the novellas Reading Turgenev and My House in Umbria)

Children's book



Also edited


Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.