Born in North Battersea (London) in September 1954, David Wingrove spent his formative years playing among the bomb-sites of World War Two, and coming to know the insides of deserted houses and the smells of brick-dust and damp wallpaper every bit as well as Proust knew his soggy biscuits.
A local C of E primary school - St Mary's, now converted to expensive flats! - disgorged him into the tender mercies of a less local Grammar School, where he spent his teenage years mainly in the art block listening to early Floyd, Hendrix and anything LOUD.
Academically he did well enough, but - mistakenly - decided to enter the world of Banking. A Diploma in Banking quickly followed, but not before he got the SF bug in his eighteenth year. He read Asimov and Heinlein and thought he could do better than both. Then he read Delany, Silverberg, Aldiss, LeGuin and Zelazny and questioned that assumption. But he was hooked.
In the decade that followed (1972-82) he wrote a total of over 300 unpublished short stories and fifteen novels - including unpublished classics like Observing Dead Flies, Apart (a trilogy), The Dark Ages, As We Began, And Then Sweet Monday, King Of Pain and The Perpetual Boy. Very few of these were ever submitted after the first few years but were seen as lessons to be learned. All of them still exist in files in two small grey filing cabinets.
Seven years in banking was about all he could take. He quit the day before his twenty fifth birthday (in 1979), encouraged by his then partner, Susan Oudot, and went to the University of Kent, Canterbury, where he proceeded to read English and American Lit. Three years later he got a First with Honours. A Masters followed, and then three years researching a doctorate on Lawrence, Hardy and Golding. This had ballooned to a fulsome 800-pages when he quit working on it to pursue a new fictional project, then called A Perfect Art. Between 1984 and 1988, when it was submitted, the work changed title twice, becoming first A Spring Day at the Edge of the World and then Chung Kuo, under which title it was sold (eventually to 18 publishers throughout the world) in the Autumn (Fall) of 1988, the first volume, The Middle Kingdom, appearing in 1989.
Chung Kuo eventually ran to eight volumes:
Since 1995, Wingrove has also been the co-writer of the Myst books, connected to the world's best-selling CD-Rom games. Three novels currently exist in this sequence, with more to come.
On the personal side, David Wingrove is still with his partner, Susan Oudot, and between them they have produced four daughters: Jessica (14), Amelia (12), Georgia (9) and Francesca (4). They married in July 1992. Susan is the best- selling author of Real Women, All That I Am and Virtual Love, all of which have been or are being televised.
David Wingrove currently lives with his family in Islington, North London, where they have been struggling to renovate an old and rambling early Victorian mansion. His passion for Queens Park Rangers football team was somewhat diminished by recent years' results, but is still close to fanatical. He is currently working on three very different novels, The Beast with Two Backs, Heaven's Bright Sun, and Roads to Moscow. There is also the small matter of a TV project, The Portal, which may or may not get made.
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© David Wingrove 5 September 1998