William Boyd

  • Best Selling Author and Screenwriter

William Boyd is the author of seventeen novels, including A Good Man in Africa,  winner of the Whitbread Literary Award and the Somerset Maugham Award; An Ice Cream War, winner of the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize and shortlisted for the Booker prize; Any Human Heart, winner of the Prix Jean Monnet; and Restless, winner of the Costa Novel of the Year, the Yorkshire Post Novel of the Year and a Richard & Judy selection. William Boyd’s new novel The Romantic is to be published on 6th October 2022.

5th September 2024

Pre order now at amazon.co.uk


Break Out Culture.

Listen at Podfollow

Ed Vaizey and Charlotte Metcalf by Country and Town house,
talk to William Boyd, about The Mirror and the Road, and all things Boyd.

The Mirror and the Road

Order now at Amazon.co.uk

The State of the Art
Radio 4

A St James’ art dealer with a penchant for postwar British painting finds terrifyingly new horizons opening up for him in East London, in William Boyd’s savagely funny new series.

Adventures in the Human Heart


William Boyd talks to Sam Leith from The Spectator, about his latest novel The Romantic which is about the incredible life of Cashel Greville Ross born in 1799.

The Romantic – Press reviews

Boyd is as magically readable as ever, and, as always with his whole life novels, there is an invigorating air of spontaneity ― Telegraph

The Romantic is certainly a crowd-pleaser, an old-fashioned bildungsroman that kicks off in the early 1800s and follows the hero, Cashel Greville Ross, through a long and peripatectic life . . . Boyd knows how to time the hights and lows, how to blend triumphs and tragedies, personal and historical . . . genuinely poignant and wise ― Sunday Times

Picaresque . . . these is a cornucopia of fine things here . . . The Romantic, always enjoyable, ranks with two of his best: The New Confessions and Any Human Heart. Both were intelligent and engrossing, novels you lived with. Both told a fine story very well. The Romantic does just that ― Scotsman

If it’s true escapism you’re after, William Boyd can always be relied upon to transport the reader from reality and his next offering, The Romantic, another epic that follows Cashel Greville Ross from 19th-century Country Cork to Zanzibar via Oxford and Sri Lanka, offers a wonderful literary getaway as the nights draw in ― Vogue, A Most Promising Page-Turner of the Season

A globe-trotting adventure through the 19th century ― i, Best Books for Autumn

Boyd’s pile-up of set piece escapades offers a huge amount of fun ― Daily Mail

One of our best contemporary storytellers ― Spectator

What could be more reassuring in troubling times than a new William Boyd novel?  ― Sunday Telegraph

Picaresque, big-hearted and moving, this is Boyd at the top of his game ― Guardian

This breakneck pace seems to be a function of Boyd’s exceptional imaginative facility, which sees him just as irresistibly drawn to new ideas as his hero is. Boyd, too, is the romantic. And yet there’s something irresistible about that energy – Financial Times

William Boyd at his boy’s own, balloon-flying, continent-hopping, historical name-dropping Boydiest. Our hero is Cashel Greville Ross, born in Co Cork in 1799, whose life spans swooping geographical leaps and great historical transformations. Think the Napoleonic battles, railways, Romantic poets, the source of the Nile, flushing loos, love affairs and pure, pure escapism ― The Times


Here is the cover-reveal for THE ROMANTIC, published 6th October.

From one of Britain’s best-loved and bestselling writers comes an intimate yet panoramic novel set in the 19th century

The Romantic

A new “whole life” novel from William Boyd, the author of Any Human Heart. Set in the 19th century, the novel follows the roller-coaster fortunes of a man as he tries to negotiate the random stages, adventures and vicissitudes of his life. He is variously a soldier, a lover, a husband, a father, a bankrupt, a friend of famous poets, a writer, a jailbird, a farmer, an African explorer – and many other manifestations – before, finally, he becomes a minor diplomat, a consul based in Trieste (then in Austria-Hungary) where he thinks he will see out the end of his days in well-deserved tranquillity. This will not come to pass…

View on Amazon UK

Spy City – all six episodes streaming now on Britbox.

AFM: Edgar Ramirez, Gugu Mbatha-Raw to Star in Isabel Coixet’s Romance ‘Nobody’s Heart’

The film — about love and loss in 1930s Portugal — is being introduced to buyers at the online AFM by WestEnd Films.

Spanish filmmaker Isabel Coixet (The Bookshop, Learning to Drive) has cast the duo of Edgar Ramirez (The Girl on the Train, Joy, Jungle Cruise) and BAFTA nominee Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Misbehaviour, Belle, The Morning Show) in her next feature.

Nobody’s Heart, adapted from bestselling author and screenwriter William Boyd’s short story Cork, and based on the life of celebrated Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa, is described as a “beautiful, poetic story of love and loss” set against the backdrop of Lisbon in the 1930s. WestEnd Films has launched international sales on the project.

The film follows Lily after the sudden and devastating death of her husband. She inherits his cork factory and begins to form an unexpected, highly charged relationship with his enigmatic co-worker, igniting repressed imagination and passion, and discovering unknown truths about both herself and her late husband.

“This is a fascinating, twisted and sexually charged love story between two characters sharing a unique passion with the background of Portugal in the 1930s,” said Coixet. “After reading William Boyd’s script, I completely fell in love with the story and I know there’s a hunger out there for stories like Nobody’s Heart.”The film will begin shooting in January in Portugal. WestEnd will be introducing the film to buyers at AFM Online where it will show a video presentation. CAA Media Finance is representing North American sales.

“Nobody’s Heart is a rich, evocative and moving drama, and we know Isabel Coixet will elevate the film even further with her eye for nuance and beauty,” said WestEnd managing director Maya Amsellem. “At WestEnd, we have a continued focus on female-centric narratives through our WeLove brand, and this is a great example of the type of story audiences want to see more of.”

By Alex Ritman

A producer, a novelist and an actress – all leading secret lives. But what happens when the trio’s private worlds begin to take over their public ones?

Happy paperback publication to Trio, the Sunday Times bestselling novel from William Boyd

One Night in Nihonbashi by William Boyd

Listen at – https://rss.com/podcasts/mandarinoriental/221578/

Rachel and Simon from the Always Take Notes Podcast
speak with William Boyd on Episode 110.


Here is the latest trailer from AMC about Spy City and its excellent critical reception in the USA. Coming to the UK imminently, so I’m told. Stand by for the latest news.

Here is a an image of the brilliant cover for the French edition of TRIO, published May 6. Chapeau!


Mishcon Academy: Digital Sessions – In Conversation with William Boyd CBE

William Boyd’s Zoom call (10 February 2021) with the Battersea Power Station Book Club. Sting drops in as one of the guests.

RESTLESS has been chosen as one of four novels for the Duchess of Cornwall’s new Instagram-based reading group, I’m delighted to report. This is the hardback cover of the 2006 first edition, published by Bloomsbury. RESTLESS was my 10th novel and followed ANY HUMAN HEART (2002). I had done a lot of research into WW2 espionage for Any Human Heart and had stumbled across the extraordinary and pretty much unknown account of British espionage in the USA before Pearl Harbor. British agents, instructed by Churchill, tried to manipulate US media to encourage the States to join the war in Europe. They were very ingenious and very successful. Sometimes you get lucky as a novelist! This was a gift from the literary gods. And this the background against which the story of the young British spy, Eva Delectorskya, plays out. Restless features on @duchessofcornwallsreadingroom for two weeks from February 12.


A Good Man in Africa, first edition hardback. Published 40 years ago this week in January 1981. Still in print in the UK, USA, Canada, France, Germany, Spain.

This is a photo of me taken 40 years ago in 1981 (yeah, I know, tempus fugit…) I was 28. 40 years ago in this week of January 1981 my first novel A GOOD MAN IN AFRICA was published by Hamish Hamilton. This photograph was taken by the late, great JERRY BAUER (1934-2010). It was the first official publicity photo designed to accompany my debut novel. Jerry became a friend and took jacket/publicity photos of me for decades. The last one was on RESTLESS (2005). Jerry made photographing writers his unique speciality. Over the years he photographed everybody: Samuel Beckett, Muriel Spark, Alberto Moravia, Simone de Beauvoir etc etc. His amazing archive can be accessed via Jerry.bauer.photos@gmail.com. HINT — someone should produce a book of them….
@penguinukbooks @aaknopf @curtisbrownbooks #agoodmaninafrica #julietnicolson @vikingbooks

William Boyd on the ‘My Wardrobe Malfunction With Susannah Constantine’ Podcast

William Boyd talks to Francine Stock about his new novel Trio and life in the sixties.

I am on the wonderful podcast with the amazing Fi Glover and the amazing Jane Garvey.
(My interview starts at around 21 minutes)

My Trio talk with Francine Stock 2.30pm Saturday 28th November. Not to be missed!!!

Here is the trailer for my six-part Cold War spy-thriller, Spy City. Starring Dominic Cooper as a British spy in Berlin during the summer of 1961. The summer before the Wall went up.  Coming to a TV near you soon.



Upcoming Events

William Boyd in conversation with Douglas Rae at the 2020 Petworth Festival.

Trio review from the Sunday Times.

‘Trio is about double lives. Three characters are central to it: Talbot Kydd, a middle-aged film producer; Elfrida Wing, a novelist with writer’s block; and Anny Viklund, a glamorous young actress. What brings them together is the making of a film in Brighton in high summer 1968.

The late 1960s have been enjoying something of a literary vogue this year: vibrantly chronicled in Craig Brown’s Beatles biography, One Two Three Four; gaudily resurrected in David Mitchell’s novel Utopia Avenue. Trio’s return to the period has a triple motive: to let the sunshine in again on its psychedelic euphoria, to highlight its political hinterland, and to spotlight gay liberation after the 1967 Sexual Offences Act.’

William Boyd interviewed by Tamsin Greig talking about his 16th novel Trio.

William Boyd will be in conversation with Douglas Rae at the 2020 Petworth Festival.

Available: Saturday 31 October LIVE at 7pm – on demand until midnight Saturday 7 November

William Boyd’s new novel, Trio is out now.

This exhilarating and tender novel set in the summer of 1968 asks: what makes life worth living? And what do you do if you find it isn’t?


The Romantic

A new “whole life” novel from William Boyd, the author of Any Human Heart. Set in the 19th century, the novel follows the roller-coaster fortunes of a man as he tries to negotiate the random stages, adventures and vicissitudes of his life. He is variously a soldier, a lover, a husband, a father, a bankrupt, a friend of famous poets, a writer, a jailbird, a farmer, an African explorer – and many other manifestations – before, finally, he becomes a minor diplomat, a consul based in Trieste (then in Austria-Hungary) where he thinks he will see out the end of his days in well-deserved tranquillity. This will not come to pass.

Buy from Amazon UK
Buy from Amazon US 


A producer. A novelist. An actress. 

It is summer in 1968, the year of the assassinations of Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy. While the world is reeling our trio is involved in making a rackety Swingin’ Sixties British movie in sunny Brighton. All are leading secret lives.


As the film is shot, with its usual drastic ups and downs, so does our trio’s private, secret world begin to take over their public one. Pressures build inexorably – someone’s going to crack. Or maybe they all will.


From one of Britain’s bestselling and best loved writers comes an exhilarating, tender novel that asks the vital questions: what makes life worth living? And what do you do if you find it isn’t?

Buy from Amazon UK
Buy from Amazon US (US version available 19th January 2021)

The Dreams of Bethany Mellmoth

A philandering art dealer tries to give up casual love affairs – seeking only passionate kisses as a substitute. A man recounts his personal history through the things he has stolen from others throughout his life. A couple chart the journey of their five year relationship backwards, from awkward reunion to lovelorn first encounter. And, at the heart of the book, a 24-year old young woman, Bethany Mellmoth, embarks on a year-long journey of wishful and tentative self-discovery.

The Dreams of Bethany Mellmoth depicts the random encounters that bring the past bubbling to the surface; the impulsive decisions that irrevocably shape a life; and the endless hesitations and loss-of-nerve that wickedly complicate it. These funny, surprising and moving stories are a resounding confirmation of Boyd’s powers as one of our most original and compelling storytellers.

Buy now from Amazon UK

Love is Blind

When Brodie is offered a job in Paris, he seizes the chance to flee Edinburgh and his tyrannical clergyman father, and begin a wildly different new chapter in his life. In Paris, a fateful encounter with a famous pianist irrevocably changes his future – and sparks an obsessive love affair with a beautiful Russian soprano, Lika Blum. Moving from Paris to St Petersburg to Edinburgh and back again, Brodie’s love for Lika and its dangerous consequences pursue him around Europe and beyond, during an era of overwhelming change as the nineteenth century becomes the twentieth.

Love is Blind is a tale of dizzying passion and brutal revenge; of artistic endeavour and the illusions it creates; of all the possibilities that life can offer, and how cruelly they can be snatched away. At once an intimate portrait of one man’s life and an expansive exploration of the beginning of the twentieth century.

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Buy now from Amazon US

Waiting For Sunrise

Vienna. 1913. It is a fine day in August when Lysander Rief, a young English actor, walks through the city to his first appointment with the eminent psychiatrist, Dr. Bensimon. Sitting in the waiting room he is anxiously pondering the nature of his problem when an extraordinary woman enters. She is clearly in distress, but Lysander is immediately drawn to her strange, hazel eyes and her unusual, intense beauty.

Later the same day they meet again, and a more composed Hettie Bull introduces herself as an artist and sculptor, and invites Lysander to a party hosted by her lover, the famous painter Udo Hoff. Compelled to attend and unable to resist her electric charm, they begin a passionate love affair. Life in Vienna becomes tinged with the frisson of excitement for Lysander. He meets Sigmund Freud in a café, begins to write a journal, enjoys secret trysts with Hettie and appears to have been cured.

London, 1914. War is stirring, and events in Vienna have caught up with Lysander. Unable to live an ordinary life, he is plunged into the dangerous theatre of wartime intelligence – a world of sex, scandal and spies, where lines of truth and deception blur with every waking day. Lysander must now discover the key to a secret code which is threatening Britain’s safety, and use all his skills to keep the murky world of suspicion and betrayal from invading every corner of his life.

Moving from Vienna to London’s west end, the battlefields of France and hotel rooms in Geneva,Waiting for Sunrise is a feverish and mesmerising journey into the human psyche, a beautifully observed portrait of wartime Europe, a plot-twisting thriller and a literary tour de force from the bestselling author of Any Human HeartRestless and Ordinary Thunderstorms.

Buy now from Amazon UK