William Nicholson - Author Picture

William Nicholson - Author

William Nicholson was our Guest Editor in April 2010 - click here - to see the books that inspired his writing.

William Nicholson was born in 1948, and grew up in Sussex and Gloucestershire. He was educated at Downside School and Christ's College, Cambridge, and then joined BBC Television, where he worked as a documentary film maker. There his ambition to write, directed first into novels, was channelled into television drama. His plays for television include Shadowlands and Life Story, both of which won the BAFTA Best Television Drama award in their year; other award-winners were Sweet As You Are and The March. In 1988 he received the Royal Television Society's Writer's Award. His first play, an adaptation of Shadowlands for the stage, was Evening Standard Best Play of 1990, and went on to a Tony-award winning run on Broadway. He was nominated for an Oscar for the screenplay of the film version, which was directed by Richard Attenborough and starred Anthony Hopkins and Debra Winger. Since then he has written more films - Sarafina, Nell, First Knight, Grey Owl, and Gladiator (as co-writer), for which he received a second Oscar nomination. He has written and directed his own film, Firelight; and three further stage plays, Map of the Heart, Katherine Howard and The Retreat from Moscow. His novel for older children, The Wind Singer, won the Smarties Prize Gold Award on publication in 2000, and the Blue Peter Book of the Year Award in 2001. Its sequel, Slaves of the Mastery, was published in May 2001, and the final volume in the Wind on Fire trilogy, Firesong was published in May 2002. A further epic trilogy – Noble Warriors – has seen been published to much acclaim and began with The Seeker, continued with Jango and culminates in Noman. He lives in Sussex with his wife Virginia and their three children.

Where do you get your ideas?

What inspired you to write ‘The Wind Singer, your first novel for teenagers’?

I take a lot of trouble over names. Often I’ll change a character’s name several times during the writing of the book, until it settles down and feels right. The meaning of the name, or the associations of the sound, have to connect with the character – so Kestrel is fast and dangerous and beautiful, like the hawk, and Mumpo is mumbly and pooey, at least to start with. Also I try to give people from the same group similar names. All the Manth people have names ending in –th or –ch or –sh, and all the mud people have names ending in –um. This is very much what happens in the real world.

Did you know The Wind Singer would be part of a trilogy?

If you want to write books, you have to do two things: read books, and write. It sounds obvious, but only by writing a lot will you get any good. The better the books you read, the better your own writing will be. Then it’s just a matter of keeping on writing. You won’t get good by giving up. I was useless for a long time, but slowly I got better. You can do it too. If you feel strong enough, show your work to others, and listen to their criticisms. It hurts - but if you listen, you'll get better.

War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy.

Click here to read a Q&A with the author from top children's publisher Egmont.

If you like William Nicholson you might also like to read books by C S Lewis and Philip Reeve.

Featured Books, with extracts, by William Nicholson

Rich and Mad
William Nicholson
Full of the myriad and criss-crossing emotions of adolescent love, this is a warm-hearted and finely observed view of two teenagers' experience. Sixth-formers Maddy Fisher and Richard Ross both want to fall in love. Both want the heady experience of...
Lovereading Price: £6.39 - Saving £1.60 (20%) Featured in: YA readers
Format: Paperback | Released 05/04/2009
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The Wind Singer
William Nicholson
The first book in the Wind On Fire Trilogy. A richly imagined fantasy trilogy set in a world with strong and rigid conditions which are about to be crushed! Once Kestrel has learnt the secret of the Wind Singer she...
Lovereading Price: £5.59 - Saving £1.40 (20%) Featured in: 11+ readers | 9+ readers
Format: Paperback | Released 07/04/2008
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Firesong
William Nicholson
The third and final book in the Wind On Fire Trilogy. A richly imagined fantasy trilogy set in a world with strong and rigid conditions which are about to be crushed! Once Kestrel has learnt the secret of the Wind...
Lovereading Price: £5.59 - Saving £1.40 (20%) Featured in: 11+ readers | 9+ readers
Format: Paperback | Released 07/04/2008
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Slaves Of The Mastery
William Nicholson
The second book in the Wind On Fire Trilogy. A richly imagined fantasy trilogy set in a world with strong and rigid conditions which are about to be crushed! Once Kestrel has learnt the secret of the Wind Singer she...
Lovereading Price: £5.59 - Saving £1.40 (20%) Featured in: 11+ readers | 9+ readers
Format: Paperback | Released 07/04/2008
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Seeker
William Nicholson
The first book of the Noble Warriors Trilogy. A specatular adventure fantasy in which individuals must prove their courage if they are to save their people. The Noble Warriors have mysterious powers that enable them to remain undefeated in combat....
Lovereading Price: £6.39 - Saving £1.60 (20%) Featured in: 11+ readers
Format: Paperback | Released 03/09/2007
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Noman
William Nicholson
The third book of The Noble Warriors Trilogy. A specatular epic adventure fantasy of far-reaching significance in which individuals must prove their courage if they are to save their people. The Noble Warriors have mysterious powers that enable them to...
Lovereading Price: £10.39 - Saving £2.60 (20%) Featured in: 11+ readers
Format: Hardback | Released 03/09/2007
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Jango
William Nicholson
The second instalment to the The Noble Warriors Trilogy. A specatular adventure fantasy in which individuals must prove their courage if they are to save their people. The Noble Warriors have mysterious powers that enable them to remain undefeated in...
Lovereading Price: £6.39 - Saving £1.60 (20%) Featured in: 11+ readers
Format: Paperback | Released 08/08/2007
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Author Info

Author's Website

www.williamnicholson.co.uk

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