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"I’m also a stand-up comic and I was a jobbing actor so it would be true to say that I’ve never done a proper day’s work in my life. Hang on, I did work as a cleaner at a holiday camp one summer just before I went to University but I got scared after a few weeks and came home. I was working on the night shift with some very rough characters."

--Author Mark Billingham


Stand up comedian, TV writer, and now best-selling crime fiction novelist Mark Billingham has no shortage of ways to fill his time. And despite his claim of “never [doing] a proper day’s work in [his] life”, Billingham has numerous bestselling novels from the Tom Thorne detective series under his belt, a seventh on its way, contributed short stories to a  number of anthologies, written essays on the subject of crime, and has written extensively for film and television.

Not one to mince words, Billingham has strong opinions about his chosen craft. “For me, if a writer can’t write dialogue, they can’t write. That’s really my outlook on it. You can write the most breathtaking, lush prose about the description of a sunset until you’re blue in the face, but if you can’t write dialogue you shouldn’t be writing fiction, you should be writing poetry.”

His favourite crime fiction hero of all time is Sherlock Holmes, partially due to the fact that he can now “see him as the crazed, controlling junkie that he clearly was.”

Born and brought up in Birmingham, his first novel, Sleepyhead, was an instant bestseller in the UK. It has been sold widely throughout the world and was published in the USA in the summer of 2002.

Mark lives in North London with his wife and two children.



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Podcast: A Conversation with Mark Billingham