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At Writers Theatre: Benefactors, Marriage and Bears
Playwright, novelist and translator Michael Frayn was born in London on 8 September 1933. After two years National Service, during which he learned Russian, he read Philosophy at Emmanuel College, Cambridge. He then worked as a reporter and columnist for The Guardian and The Observer, publishing several novels including The Tin Men (1865), winner of a Somerset Maugham Awart, The Russian Interpreter (1966), which won the Hawthornden Prize, and Towards the End of the Morning (1967). More recent novels include A Landing on the Sun (1991), which won the Sunday Express Book of the Year and Headlong (1999), the story of the discover of a lost painting by Bruegel, shortlisted for the Booker Prize for Fiction. His latest novel, Spies (2002), a story of childhood set in England during the Second World War, won the 2002 Whitbread Novel Aaward and the 2003 Commonwealth Writers Prize (Eurasia region, best book), and was shortlisted for the Whitbread Book of the Year. Michael Frayn is also the recipient of the 2002 Heywood Hill Literary Prize.
His plays include Alphabetical Order (1975), Clouds (1976), Donkeys' Years (1977), Make or Break (1980), Noises Off (1982), and Benefactors (1984). Copenhagen (1998), about the 1941 meeting between German physicist Werner Heisenberg and his Danish counterpart Niels Bohr, first staged at the Royal National Theatre in London, won the 1998 Evening Standard Award for Best Play of the Year and the 2000 Tony Award for Best Play (USA).
He has also translated a number of works from Russian, including plays by Chekhov and Tolstoy. His films for television include First and Last (1989), for which he won an Emmy, and an adaptation of his 1991 novel A Landing on the Sun. He also wrote the screenplay for the film Clockwise (1986), a comedy starring John Cleese. Michael Frayn is married to the biographer and critic Claire Tomalin.
[Bio as of April 2015]