|Born||28 September 1944|
|Education||University of Oxford|
|Spouse||Catherine Heald (div.) |
Simon Winchester(born 28 September 1944) is a British-American author and journalist. In his career at The Guardian newspaper, Winchester covered numerous significant events, including Bloody Sunday and the Watergate Scandal. Winchester has written or contributed to more than a dozen nonfiction books, has written one novel, and has contributed to several magazines, among them Condé Nast Traveler, Smithsonian Magazine, and National Geographic.
Born in London, Winchester attended several boarding schools in Dorset, including Hardye's School. He spent a year hitchhiking around the United States, then in 1963 went up to St Catherine's College, Oxford, to study geology. He graduated in 1966, and found work with Falconbridge of Africa, a Canadian mining company. His first assignment was to work as a field geologist searching for copper deposits in Uganda.
While on assignment in Uganda, Winchester happened upon a copy of James Morris' Coronation Everest, an account of the 1953 expedition that led to the first successful ascent of Mount Everest. The book instilled in Winchester the desire to be a writer, so he wrote to Morris, seeking career advice. Morris urged Winchester to give up geology the very day he received the letter, and get a job as a writer on a newspaper.
In 1969 Winchester joined The Guardian, first as a regional correspondent based in Newcastle upon Tyne, but later as its Northern Ireland correspondent. Winchester's time in Northern Ireland placed him around several events of The Troubles, including the events of Bloody Sunday and the Belfast "Hour of Terror". In 1971, Winchester became involved in a controversy over the British press's coverage of Northern Ireland on the floor of the House of Commons when Bernadette Devlin described his role in reporting the shooting to death by British soldiers of Barney Watt in Hooker Street in the morning of Saturday, 6 February 1971.
After leaving Northern Ireland in 1972, Winchester was briefly assigned to Calcutta before becoming correspondent for The Guardian in Washington, DC, where he covered news ranging from the end of Richard Nixon's administration to the start of Jimmy Carter's presidency.
In 1982, while working as chief foreign feature writer for The Sunday Times, Winchester was on location for the invasion of the Falkland Islands by Argentine forces. Suspected of being a spy, Winchester was held for three months as a prisoner in Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego. He wrote about this event in his book, Prison Diary, published in 1983 and also in Outposts: Journeys to the Surviving Relics of the British Empire, published in 1985 as well as Atlantic: A Vast Ocean of a Million Stories published in 2010, in which he tells of meeting up with one of his jailers many years later. In 1985, he shifted to working as a freelance writer and travelled to Hong Kong. When Condé Nast re-branded Signature magazine as Condé Nast Traveler, Winchester was appointed its Asia-Pacific Editor. Over the following fifteen years he contributed to a number of travel publications including Traveler, National Geographic and Smithsonian magazine.
Winchester's first book, In Holy Terror, was published by Faber and Faber in 1975. The book drew heavily on his experiences of the turmoil in Northern Ireland. In 1976 he published his second book, American Heartbeat, which deals with his travels through the American heartland. Winchester's first truly successful book was The Professor and the Madman (1998) published by Penguin UK as The Surgeon of Crowthorne. Telling the story of the creation of the Oxford English Dictionary, the book was a New York Times Best Seller.
Though he still writes travel books, Winchester has used the narrative non-fiction form he adopted for The Professor and the Madman several more times, resulting in multiple best-selling books. The Map that Changed the World (2001) focuses on the geologist William Smith and was Winchester's second New York Times best seller. The year 2003 saw the publication of The Meaning of Everything, which returns to the topic of the creation of the Oxford English Dictionary, and of the best-selling Krakatoa: The Day the World Exploded. Winchester then published A Crack in the Edge of the World, a book about San Francisco's 1906 earthquake. The Man Who Loved China (2008) retells the life of the scholar Joseph Needham.The Alice Behind Wonderland, an exploration of the life and work of Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (Lewis Carroll), and his relationship with Alice Liddell, was published in 2011.
Winchester's book on the Pacific Ocean, Pacific: Silicon Chips and Surfboards, Coral Reefs and Atom Bombs, Brutal Dictators, Fading Empires, and the Coming Collision of the World's Superpowers, was published in 2015. It was his second book about the Pacific region, his first, Pacific Rising: The Emergence of a New World Culture having been published in 1991.
On 4 July 2011 Winchester was naturalized as an American citizen in a ceremony aboard the USS Constitution.
Winchester lives in Berkshire County, Massachusetts.
|Title||Year||ISBN||Publisher||Subject matter||Interviews and presentations||Comments|
|In Holy Terror: Reporting the Ulster Troubles||1974||ISBN 9780571106288||Faber & Faber||The Troubles|
|American Heartbeat: Notes From a Midwest Journey||1976||ISBN 9780571108787||Faber & Faber||Midwestern United States|
|Their Noble Lordships: Class and Power in Modern Britain||1982||ISBN 9780394524184||Random House||Social class in the United Kingdom, British nobility|
|Stones of Empire: The Buildings of the Raj||1983||ISBN 9780192114495||Oxford University Press||British colonial architecture in India||Text by Jan Morris; photographs by Winchester|
|Prison Diary: Argentina||1983||ISBN 9780701127534||Chatto & Windus|
|Outposts: Journeys to the Surviving Relics of the British Empire||1985||ISBN 9780060598617||Hodder & Stoughton||British Overseas Territories||Also published under the title The Sun Never Sets.|
|Korea: A Walk Through the Land of Miracles||1988||ISBN 9780246133632||HarperCollins||South Korea|
|Pacific Rising: The Emergence of a New World Culture||1991||ISBN 9780138077938||Simon & Schuster|
|Hong Kong: Here Be Dragons||1992||ISBN 9781556702495||Stewart Tabori & Chang||Hong Kong||By Rich Browne, James Marshall and Simon Winchester.|
|Pacific Nightmare: How Japan Starts World War III : A Future History||1992||ISBN 9781559721363||Birch Lane Press||Fiction|
|Small World: A Global Photographic Project, 1987–94||1995||ISBN 9781899235056||Dewi Lewis Publishing||Written with Martin Parr.|
|The River at the Center of the World: A Journey Up the Yangtze, and Back in Chinese Time||1996||ISBN 9780274882915||Picador||Yangtze River|
|The Surgeon of Crowthorne: A Tale of Murder, Madness and the Love of Words||1998||ISBN 9780140271287||Viking Press||William Chester Minor, Sir James Murray, Oxford English Dictionary||Booknotes interview with Winchester on The Professor and the Madman, November 8, 1998, C-SPAN||Published in the United States as The Professor and the Madman|
|The Fracture Zone: A Return to the Balkans||1999||ISBN 9780060195748||HarperCollins||Breakup of Yugoslavia, Yugoslav Wars||Presentation by Winchester on The Fracture Zone, October 31, 1999, C-SPAN|
|The Map That Changed the World: William Smith and the Birth of Modern Geology||2001||ISBN 9780060193614||HarperCollins||William Smith||Presentation by Winchester on The Map That Changed the World, September 7, 2001, C-SPAN
Interview about The Map That Changed the World by Powell's Books, 10 October 2006
|The Meaning of Everything: The Story of the Oxford English Dictionary||2003||ISBN 9780198607021||Oxford University Press||Oxford English Dictionary||Presentation by Winchester on The Meaning of Everything, November 20, 2003, C-SPAN|
|Krakatoa: The Day the World Exploded||2003||ISBN 9780060838591||HarperCollins||1883 eruption of Krakatoa||Presentation by Winchester on Krakatoa, April 10, 2003, C-SPAN|
|Simon Winchester's Calcutta||2004||ISBN 9781740595872||Lonely Planet||Calcutta, India||A collection of writings about the Indian city, edited with his son Rupert Winchester.|
|A Crack in the Edge of the World: America and the Great California Earthquake of 1906||2005||ISBN 9780060572006||HarperCollins||1906 San Francisco earthquake||Presentation by Winchester on A Crack in the Edge of the World, October 21, 2005, C-SPAN
The Bat Segundo Show interview with Winchester on A Crack in the Edge of the World, December 28, 2006
|The Man Who Loved China: The Fantastic Story of the Eccentric Scientist Who Unlocked the Mysteries of the Middle Kingdom||2008||ISBN 9780060884611||HarperCollins||Joseph Needham||Presentation by Winchester on The Man Who Loved China, May 20, 2008, C-SPAN
Interview about Bomb, Book & Compass – The Life of Joseph Needham (transcript) by Ramona Koval, The Book Show, ABC Radio National, 3 October 2008
|Title of the UK edition: Bomb, Book & Compass.|
|Atlantic: A Vast Ocean of a Million Stories||2010||ISBN 9780007341375||HarperCollins||History of the Atlantic Ocean||Presentation by Winchester on Atlantic, November 4, 2010, C-SPAN
Presentation by Winchester on Atlantic, November 21, 2010, C-SPAN
Interview about The Atlantic by Claudia Cragg, KGNU radio, 2 December 2010
Q&A interview with Winchester on Atlantic, November 27, 2011, C-SPAN
|Also published under the title Atlantic: The Biography of an Ocean.|
|The Alice Behind Wonderland||2011||ISBN 9780190614546||Oxford University Press||Alice Liddell|
|The Men Who United the States: America's Explorers, Inventors, Eccentrics and Mavericks, and the Creation of One Nation, Indivisible||2013||ISBN 9780062079619||HarperCollins||Presentation by Winchester on The Men Who United the States, October 18, 2013, C-SPAN
The Bat Segundo Show interview with Winchester on The Men Who United the States, November 26, 2013
|The Man with the Electrified Brain||2013||ISBN 9781614520832||Byliner|
|When the Earth Shakes: Earthquakes, Volcanoes, and Tsunamis||2015||ISBN 9780670785360||Viking Books for Young Readers||Earthquakes, Volcanoes, and Tsunamis|
|Pacific: Silicon Chips and Surfboards, Coral Reefs and Atom Bombs, Brutal Dictators, Fading Empires, and the Coming Collision of the World's Superpowers||2015||ISBN 9780062315410||HarperCollins||History of the Pacific Ocean||Presentation by Winchester on Pacific, October 29, 2015, C-SPAN|
|The Perfectionists: How Precision Engineers Created the Modern World||2018||ISBN 9780062652553||HarperCollins||Precision engineering||Interview with Winchester on The Perfectionists, November 17, 2018, C-SPAN||Also published as Exactly: How Precision Engineers Created the Modern World.|
|Land: How the Hunger for Ownership Shaped the Modern World||2021||ISBN 9780062938336||HarperCollins||Land tenure||Interview with Winchester on Land, February 17, 2021, C-SPAN|
|Knowing What We Know: The Transmission of Knowledge From Ancient Wisdom to Modern Magic||2023||ISBN 9780063142886||HarperCollins||Knowledge, Information Systems|
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