> Skip to content
  • Published: 1 July 2010
  • ISBN: 9781407074337
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 656

Bruce Chatwin

Beautifully written and critically acclaimed, this is the definitive biography of one of our most fascinating cultural icons

Bruce Chatwin's death in 1989 brought a meteoric career to an abrupt end, since he burst onto the literary scene in 1977 with his first book, In Patagonia.

Chatwin himself was different things to different people: a journalist, a photographer, an art collector, a restless traveller and a bestselling author; he was also a married man, an active homosexual, a socialite who loved to mix with the rich and famous, and a single-minded loner who explored the limits of extreme solitude.

From unrestricted access to Chatwin's private notebooks, diaries and letters, Nicholas Shakespeare has compiled the definitive biography of one of the most charismatic and elusive literary figures of our time.

'A magnificent work of empathy and detection'
Colin Thubron, Sunday Times
'Utterly compelling'
Philip Marsden, Mail on Sunday
'A fascinating account of the man behind the myth'
Ian Thomson, Guardian

  • Published: 1 July 2010
  • ISBN: 9781407074337
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 656

About the author

Nicholas Shakespeare

Nicholas Shakespeare was born in 1957. The son of a diplomat, much of his youth was spent in the Far East and South America. His novels have been translated into twenty languages. They include The Vision Of Elena Silves, winner of the Somerset Maugham Award, Snowleg and The Dancer Upstairs, which was chosen by the American Libraries Association in 1997 as the year's best novel, and in 2001 was made into a film of the same name by John Malkovich. Recent books include Secrets of the Sea and Priscilla. He is a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. He is married with two sons and divides his time between Oxford and Tasmania.

Also by Nicholas Shakespeare

See all

Praise for Bruce Chatwin

A fascinating account of the man behind the myth


An epic piece of work of immense satisfaction... Awe-inspiring

The Times

Comprehensively researched, elegantly written, perfectly balanced between the life, the books and the ideas

Independent on Sunday

I take my scalp off to Nicholas Shakespeare. Biographies don't come any better than this. Eight years in the writing, Bruce Chatwin is a glorious quilt-work of texts, voices and places, joined together with consummate judgement... Wisely Nicholas Shakespeare eschews detailed literary analysis. Such is his skill as a biographer, there is no need

Justin Wintle, Financial Times

In Nicholas Shakespeare he has found, posthumously, the right biographer. This is a magnificent work of empathy and detection

Colin Thubron, Sunday Times

It is so difficult to have any sense of another person's inner life, but in this vastly enjoyable book Shakespeare successfully shines the torch onto a psychic landscape peopled by the fearful monsters that Chatwin kept mostly at bay by continually moving and reinventing himself

Sara Wheeler, Independent

Of my contemporaries he had the most erudite and possibly the most brilliant mind

Salman Rushdie

Quite simply, one of the most beautifully written, painstakingly researched and cleverly constructed biographies of this decade... Original, intelligent and observant

Literary Review

Shakespeare must be praised for his energy, his always lucid presentation, and - above all - for his mostly poker-faced willingness to leave us as suspiciously intrigued by his strange subject as we were before

Ian Hamilton, Sunday Times

This is an authorised biography, but with none of the inhibition that an authorised biography usually entails. Nicholas Shakespeare has obviously done his research thoroughly - travelled in Chatwin's footsteps, interviewed all his friends - and, although I am still not entirely convinced that Bruce Chatwin was the most fascinating man who ever lived, he proves quite fascinating enough to sustain these 550 pages

Lynn Barber, Daily Telegraph

Related titles