Author Profile: Bernard Cornwell

I thought I would start a series of author profiles, highlighting a new author each week. The profiles are intended to give you some background information about each author: where they grew up, how they got started, what they’ve written, things of that nature. I thought I would start with Bernard Cornwell, since he’s my favorite.

Bernard Cornwell

Bernard Cornwell, an English novelist of historical fiction, was born in London on February 23, 1944. His father was a Canadian airman, and his mother was a member of Britain’s Women’s Auxiliary Air Force. He was adopted and raised in Essex by a strict Protestant religious group known as the Peculiar People, but he later left them and went to London University and changed his last name to his mother’s maiden name, Cornwell. He taught school for a while and then later went to work for BBC Television, where he stayed for the next ten years. His career began as a researcher on the Nationwide Programme, and he worked his way up to Head of Current Affairs Television for the BBC in Northern Ireland. He met his wife, Judy (an American), during his time in Ireland.

In 1980, Bernard and Judy married, and they moved to the United States. While there, the U.S. government denied him his Green Card, and so he began to write in order to earn a living, as he did not need a permit to do so.

And so the Sharpe Series was born.

Cornwell began writing a series of novels following a British rifleman (Richard Sharpe) through the various major battles of the Peninsular War. He began with the novels Sharpe’s Eagle and Sharpe’s Gold, both published in 1981.

Cornwell and wife Judy co-write a series of novels, published under the pseudonym Susannah Kells. A Crowning Mercy was published in 1983, Fallen Angels in 1984, and Coat of Arms (aka The Aristocrats) in 1986.

After writing and publishing eight Sharpe novels, Cornwell was approached by a production company with the idea of adapting the novels for television. Sharpe’s Rifles was published in 1987 along with a series of Sharpe television films featuring Sean Bean.

Cornwell is currently working on a new work titled Azincourt. It is slated for release in the UK in October 2008.

Novels by Cornwell:

* 1981 – Sharpe’s Eagle and Sharpe’s Gold
* 1982 – Sharpe’s Company
* 1983 – Sharpe’s Sword, Sharpe’s Enemy and A Crowning Mercy
* 1984 – Fallen Angels
* 1985 – Sharpe’s Honour
* 1986 – Sharpe’s Regiment and Coat of Arms (aka The Aristocrats)
* 1987 – Sharpe’s Siege and Redcoat
* 1988 – Sharpe’s Rifles and Wildtrack
* 1989 – Sharpe’s Revenge and Sea Lord (aka Killer’s Wake)
* 1990 – Sharpe’s Waterloo and Crackdown
* 1991 – Stormchild
* 1992 – Sharpe’s Devil and Scoundrel
* 1993 – Rebel
* 1994 – Copperhead
* 1995 – Sharpe’s Battle, Battle Flag and The Winter King
* 1996 – The Bloody Ground and Enemy of God
* 1997 – Sharpe’s Tiger and Excalibur: A Novel of Arthur
* 1998 – Sharpe’s Triumph
* 1999 – Sharpe’s Fortress and Stonehenge: A Novel of 2000 BC
* 2000 – Harlequin (aka The Archer’s Tale)
* 2001 – Sharpe’s Trafalgar and Gallows Thief
* 2002 – Sharpe’s Prey, Sharpe’s Skirmish and Vagabond
* 2003 – Sharpe’s Havoc, Sharpe’s Christmas and Heretic
* 2004 – Sharpe’s Escape and The Last Kingdom
* 2005 – The Pale Horseman
* 2006 – Sharpe’s Fury and The Lords of the North
* 2007 – Sword Song
* 2008 – Azincourt

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