John Spurling

John Spurling Portrait


John Spurling was born in Kisumu, Kenya. His stage plays include MacRune’s Guevara (National Theatre, London, 1969), In the Heart of the British Museum (Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, 1971), Shades of Heathcliff (Lucky’s Sheffield, 1971), Peace in Our Time (Crucible Theatre, Sheffield, 1972), While Rome Burns (Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury, 1976), The British Empire, Part One (Birmingham Repertory Theatre, 1980), Coming Ashore in Guadeloupe (Harrogate Festival, 1982), Racine at the Girls’ School (Cheltenham Literary Festival, 1992), The Butcher of Baghdad (The Grace at the Latchmere, London, 1993), King Arthur in Avalon (Cheltenham Literary Festival, 1999) and three plays for prisoners, 2003-6. His television plays are Hope, BBC2, 1970, Faith, BBC2, 1971, Death of Captain Doughty, Granada, 1973 (also performed as a stage play in Brixton Prison in 1999), and Silver, Granada, 1973. His radio plays include The British Empire trilogy (BBC Radio 3 1983-5), Fancy Pictures (BBC Radio 4, 1988), Discobolus (BBC Radio 3, 1989), Heresy (BBC Radio 3, 2001) and A Household in Hove (BBC Radio 4, 2002). His  published novels are The Ragged End (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1989) , After Zenda (Andre Deutsch, 1995), A Book of Liszts (2011)and his fourth, The Ten Thousand Things (Overlook , New York/ Duckworth, UK), the story of a famous Chinese painter of the 14th century, has been published recently to great success. John Spurling and his wife Hilary (winner of the 2005 Whitbread Prize for biography for the second volume of her life of Matisse) have three children and live in London