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Jim Crace at the 2009 Texas Book Festival.
1 March 1946
|Genre||Realistic fiction, historical fiction|
|Notable works||Continent, Quarantine, Being Dead, Harvest|
James Crace (born 1 March 1946) is an English writer and novelist. His novels include Quarantine, which was judged Whitbread Novel of 1998, and Harvest, which won the 2015 International Dublin Literary Award, the 2013 James Tait Black Memorial Prize, and was shortlisted for the 2013 Booker Prize.
Crace was born at Brocket Hall, Hertfordshire, while it was a maternity hospital. He grew up on an estate in Enfield, north London and attended Enfield Grammar School. He studied for a degree at the Birmingham College of Commerce (now part of Birmingham City University), where he was enrolled as an external student of the University of London. While at university, Crace edited and contributed to the Birmingham Sun, Aston University's student newspaper. He was awarded an external Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from the University of London in 1968.
Immediately after graduating from university, Crace joined Voluntary Services Overseas (VSO) and was sent to Khartoum, Sudan. He traveled through Africa and briefly taught at a village school called Kgosi Kgari Sechele Secondary School in Molepolole, Botswana. Two years later he returned to the UK, and worked for the BBC writing educational programmes.
In 1974 he published his first work of prose fiction, Annie, California Plates in The New Review, and in the next 10 years would write a number of short stories and radio plays, including:
Continent, Crace's first book, was published in 1986. The book's sale to America enabled him to leave journalism and concentrate on writing books. Continent consists of seven stories united by their setting and themes. It won the Whitbread First Novel of the Year Award, the David Higham Prize for Fiction, and the Guardian Fiction prize. New York Times critic Robert Olen Butler called it "brilliant, provocative and delightful".
Follow-up book The Gift of Stones is set in a village in the Neolithic period, while Quarantine is set in the Judean desert, 2000 years ago. The latter book won the Whitbread Novel Award in 1997, and was shortlisted for the Booker Prize, as was his 2013 novel Harvest. He won the National Book Critics Circle Award in 1999, for Being Dead.
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Having lived many years in the Moseley area of Birmingham with his wife Pamela Turton, Crace now lives with her in rural Warwickshire. They have two children, Thomas Charles Crace (born 1981) and the actress Lauren Rose Crace (born 1986), who played Danielle Jones in EastEnders.