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Biography- Jennifer Johnston

Born in Dublin in 1930, Jennifer Johnston's first published novel was The Captains and the Kings (1972). Since then, she has published many more novels, including Shadows on our Skin (1977), which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize for Fiction, and The Old Jest (1979), set in the War of Independence and winning the 1979 Whitbread Novel Award. The Old Jest was later filmed as The Dawning, starring Anthony Hopkins.

Other novels include: How Many Miles to Babylon? (1974), set in World War I, and later adapted for stage; The Invisible Worm (1991), dealing with the subject of sexual abuse, and shortlisted for the Daily Express Best Book of the Year Award; The Gingerbread Woman (2000), about a widower who has lost his wife and child to terrorists; This Is Not a Novel (2002); Grace and Truth (2005); and most recently, Foolish Mortals (2007).

Jennifer Johnston also writes plays. These haveincluded The Nightingale and Not the Lark (1980), and O Ananias, Azarias and Misael (firstpublished in Best Radio Plays of 1989, 1990). She lives in County Derry and her novels have been published in many countries.


The Captains and the Kings   Hamilton, 1972

The Gates   Hamilton, 1973

How Many Miles to Babylon?   Hamilton, 1974

Shadows on our Skin   Hamilton, 1977

The Old Jest   Hamilton, 1979

The Nightingale and Not the Lark   (play)   S. French, 1980

The Christmas Tree   Hamilton, 1981

The Railway Station Man   Hamish Hamilton, 1984

Fool's Sanctuary   Hamish Hamilton, 1987

Best Radio Plays of 1989   (Giles Cooper Award Winners Series; includes 'O Ananias, Azarias and Misael')   Methuen/BBC, 1990

The Invisible Worm   Sinclair-Stevenson, 1991

The Illusionist   Sinclair-Stevenson, 1995

Three Monologues   (Contents: 'Twinkletoes'; 'Mustn't Forget High Noon'; 'Christine')   Lagan Press, 1995

The Desert Lullaby: A Play in Two Acts   Lagan Press, 1996

Two Moons   Review, 1998

The Essential Jennifer Johnston   (Contents: 'The Captains and the Kings'; 'The Railway Station Man'; 'Fool's Sanctuary')   Review, 1999

The Gingerbread Woman   Review, 2000

This is not a Novel   Review, 2002

Selected Short Plays   (Contents: 'Moonlight and Music'; Mustn't Forget High Noon'; 'O Ananias, Azarias and Misael'; 'The Nightingale and Not the Lark')   New Island, 2003

Grace and Truth   Review, 2005

Foolish Mortals   Review, 2007

Prizes and awards

Robert Pitman Award

1972   Evening Standard Award for Best First Novel   The Captains and the Kings

1972   Yorkshire Post Book Award (Best First Work)   The Captains and the Kings

1977   Booker Prize for Fiction   (shortlist)   Shadows on our Skin

1979   Whitbread Novel Award   The Old Jest

1989   Giles Cooper Award   (radio play)   O Ananias, Azarias and Misael

1992   Daily Express Best Book of the Year Award   (shortlist)   The Invisible Worm


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