On December 8th 1951 was born one of America’s best selling author of humorous books on travel , as well as books on the english language and scientific language. William McGuire Bryson was born in Des Moines, Iowa the son of William and Mary Bryson. He has an older brother, Michael, and a sister, Mary Jane Elizabeth.
Bryson’s didactics was at Drake University but he dropped out in 1972 and decided to backpack around Europe for four months. He returned to Europe the following year with a high school friend, the pseudonymous Stephen Katz. Some of his experiences from this trip are relived as flashbacks in Neither Here Nor There: Travels in Europe, which documents a similar journey Bryson made twenty years later. In the mid-1970s, Bryson began working in a psychiatric hospital in Virginia Water, Surrey. There he met and soon married his English wife, Cynthia, a hospital nurse. Together they returned to the USA in order for Bryson to complete his college degree, after which they settled in England in 1977, remaining there until 1995. Living in North Yorkshire and mainly working as a journalist, he eventually became chief copy editor of the business section of The Times, and then deputy national news editor of the business section of The Independent. He left journalism in 1987, three years after the birth of his third child. Still living in Kirkby Malham, North Yorkshire, and Bryson started writing independently and in 1990 their fourth and final child, Sam, was born. In 1995, Bryson returned to live in the United States (Hanover, New Hampshire) for some years. In 2003, however, Bryson and his family returned to England, and are now living in Wymondham, Norfolk.
In 1995, Bryson returned to the United States to live in Hanover, New Hampshire, for some years, the stories of which feature in his book I’m A Stranger Here Myself, alternatively titled notes from a Big Country in the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia. During his time in the United States, Bryson decided to walk the Appalachian Trail with his friend Stephen Katz, about which he wrote the book A Walk in the Woods. In 2003 the Brysons and their four children returned to the UK, and now live in Norfolk. Also in 2003, in conjunction with World Book Day, voters in the United Kingdom chose Bryson’s book Notes from a Small Island as that which best sums up British identity and the state of the nation. In the same year, he was appointed a Commissioner for English Heritage. In 2004; Bryson won the prestigious Aventis Prize for best general science book with A Short History of Nearly Everything. This 500-page popular literature piece explores not only the histories and current statuses of the sciences, but also reveals their humble and often humorous beginnings. Although one “top scientist” is alleged to have jokingly described the book as “annoyingly free of mistakes”, Bryson himself makes no such claim, and a list of nine reported errors in the book is available online, identifying the chapter in which each appears but with no page or line references. In 2005, the book won the EU Descartes Prize for science communication. Bryson has also written two popular works on the history of the English language — Mother Tongue and Made in America — and, more recently, an update of his guide to usage, Bryson’s Dictionary of Troublesome Words (published in its first edition as The Penguin Dictionary of Troublesome Words in 1983). These books were popularly acclaimed and well reviewed, though they received some criticism claiming that they contained factual errors, urban myths and folk etymologies.
The American who once wrote of Blackpool, “on Friday and Saturday nights, it has more public toilets than anywhere else: elsewhere they call them doorways”, and of Liverpool, “they were having a festival of litter when I arrived”, is rapidly cementing his position as a national treasure. Bill Bryson is universally regarded as so nice that it’s almost intolerable. He loves England, its landscape, its history, its stone and brick, even its weather and food, so much that it’s downright embarrassing to the moaning natives.
He once in an interview described the country as “this wondrous place – crazy but adorable to the tiniest degree”. Now, having been an English Heritage commissioner since 2003, he is to become president of the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE). “By the time we finally approached him, he was on a shortlist of one,” the CPRE’s chief executive, Shaun Spiers, said yesterday. “We’ve already had a membership surge since the news got out.” He’s an absolute saint, I’m sorry but he is,” said Adam Wilkinson, the frequently acid-tongued secretary of the conservation society save. “He is just a hugely motivated, generous person, with a deep care for his adopted country. It’s that thing of the outsider’s eye – he sees our faults and problems more clearly, and the good things as well, and he’s right about it all. “If the 80-year-old CPRE ever was about admiring fluffy lambkins gamboling on the greensward, those days are long gone. The organization is deeply involved in intensely political issues, including urban sprawl, affordable rural housing, pressure on green belts, noise and light pollution, and the loss of village post offices, pubs and shops.
William McGuire Bryson is still going strong as ever and we can be sure that he will not disappoint his beloved fans worldwide with more 5 – star best sellers.