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Mark McCrum

Non-fiction writer

Mark McCrum is a writer of non-fiction. He began his career as a travel writer, with well-received books about southern Africa (Happy Sad Land, 1994), Australia (No Worries, 1996) and Ireland (The Craic, 1998). As his focus was always on the people in the landscape, it was a natural progression for him to ghost-write the story of a young Muslim woman from Bradford who escaped from an arranged marriage to a Pakistani relative to be with her white English boyfriend; Jack and Zena was published to acclaim in 1997. He then wrote two books documenting landmark television programmes: 1900 House (1999), where a modern family attempted to live for six weeks as Victorians; and Castaway (2000) where 36 individuals were filmed over a year trying to set up a self-sufficient community on a remote Scottish island. (These turned out to be the first two examples of a new television genre, reality TV.)

Following the success of Castaway, he was invited to write about the pop star Robbie Williams on tour round Europe; this became Somebody Someday, a cross between a travel book and a biography, which was a No 1 bestseller. Mark then wrote Going Dutch in Beijing, a light-hearted look at etiquette around the world. His most recent book is Walking with the Wounded, telling the story of four wounded soldiers as they attempt to reach the North Pole. He continues to ghost-write and is now working on a novel. He lives in London with his wife and young family.

Mark McCrum
Image Credit: Guy Hills


Queen Mary, University of London 2014-16
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