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Peter Benson


Peter Benson is a novelist and dramatist. His first novel The Levels was a bucolic love story, his second A Lesser Dependency was a post-imperial polemic, while his third The Other Occupant was an up-beat death book. Between them, these three novels won a number of awards, including the Guardian fiction prize, the Encore award and a Somerset Maugham award.

His subsequent novels were Odo’s Hanging, a historical novel based around the making of the Bayeux Tapestry, Riptide, a surf, sun and sex novel, and A Private Moon, a Brighton-based homage to Dashiell Hammett. The final novel of Benson’s first active period was The Shape of Clouds, a lyrical examination of Cornwall and Hollywood as seen through the eyes of a retired merchant seaman.

In 1999, Benson retreated from writing novels and started work as a freelance copywriter. For ten years, he wrote copy for financial institutions, energy companies, pharmaceutical companies and educational establishments. Then in 2011 he published his eighth novel Two Cows and a Vanful of Smoke, ‘a haunting tale of love, clairvoyance and cannabis’, and in 2012 Isabel’s Skin, a gothic murder mystery. The Two Friends, a play written with Alessandro Gallenzi and based on a story by Gogol, was published in 2013.

In addition to his novels, Peter Benson has published short stories, poetry, and screenplays, and taught at universities and writing centres in the UK and USA. He plays the cello, and in 2004 was awarded a Cordon Bleu Diplôme de Pâtisserie. He lives in Devon.


Peter Benson


University of Leicester 2002/03
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