Malcolm Bradbury


Biography of Malcolm Bradbury

Sir Malcolm Stanley Bradbury (7 September 1932 – 27 November 2000) was an English author and academic.

Bradbury was born in Sheffield, the son of a railwayman. His family moved to London in 1935, but returned to Sheffield in 1941 with his brother and mother. The family later moved to Nottingham and in 1943 Bradbury attended West Bridgford Grammar School, where he remained until 1950. He read English at University College, Leicester and gained a first-class degree in English in 1953. He continued his studies at Queen Mary College, University of London, where he gained his MA in 1955. Between 1955 and 1958 Bradbury moved between teaching posts with the University of Manchester and Indiana University in the US. He returned to England in 1958 for a major heart operation; such was his heart condition that he was not expected to live beyond middle age. In 1959, while in hospital, Bradbury completed his first novel, Eating People is Wrong.

He married Elizabeth Salt and they had two sons. He took up his first teaching post as an adult-education tutor at the University of Hull. With his study on Evelyn Waugh in 1962 he began his career of writing and editing critical books. From 1961 to 1965 he taught at the University of Birmingham. He completed his PhD in American studies at the University of Manchester in 1962, moving to the University of East Anglia (his second novel, Stepping Westward, appeared in 1965), where he became Professor of American Studies in 1970 and launched the world-renowned MA in Creative Writing course, attended by both Ian McEwan and Kazuo Ishiguro. Bradbury published Possibilities: Essays on the State of the Novel in 1973, The History Man in 1975, Who Do You Think You Are? in 1976, Rates of Exchange in 1983, Cuts: A Very Short Novel in 1987, retiring from academic life in 1995.

Bradbury became a Commander of the British Empire in 1991 for services to Literature, and was made a Knight Bachelor in the New Year Honours 2000, again for services to Literature.

Malcolm Bradbury died at Priscilla Bacon Lodge, Colman Hospital, Norwich, attended by his wife and their two sons, Matthew and Dominic. He was buried on 4 December 2000 in the churchyard of St Mary's parish church, Tasburgh, a village near Norwich where the Bradburys owned a second home. Though he was not an orthodox religious believer, he respected the traditions and socio-cultural role of the Church of England, and enjoyed visiting churches in the spirit of Philip Larkin's famous poem "Church Going".

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