Julian Evans is a biographer, travel writer and translator. His first book Transit of Venus (Secker & Warburg, 1992; Eland Books, 2014) is an account of a journey across the Pacific Ocean to a US nuclear missile-testing range. It was named by Lonely Planet as ‘the best modern travelogue about the Pacific’. His recent biography of the writer and adventurer Norman Lewis, Semi-Invisible Man (Jonathan Cape, 2008), was acclaimed for both its spirited depiction of Lewis’s own journeys, many of which Evans followed, and its meditations on the nature of biography and our need for stories.
His sense of humanity’s imperative for stories has inspired the many radio and TV documentaries he has written and presented, including BBC Radio 3’s series on the European novel The Romantic Road and the BBC4 film José Saramago: a life of resistance. He has also translated the novels of André Gide and Michel Déon, among others. In 1997 he was awarded the Académie Française prize for the advancement of French literature.
Since 2004 he has been closely involved in the work of the writers’ organisation, English Pen, and its writers-in-translation committee. His desire to offer his experience to a new audience led to his work with the RLF fellowship scheme. He now lives between London and Bristol with the artist Natasha Dikaya, their two children and a Jack Russell terrier. For his next book he is researching Gustave Flaubert’s intimate connections with Chelsea and several of its residents.