Short biography competition

The judges of the Kingston University Press short biography competition have made their decision regarding the manuscripts receiving highest accolades. Peter Parker, Jane Jordan and Alexander Masters are delighted to confirm that 'My brother and I' by C.J. ('Jonty') Driver and 'Becoming Iris Murdoch' by Frances White are to be moved forward toward publication by KUP by agreement with the authors.

Both manuscripts impressed with the quality of their writing, showing genuinely accomplished thinkers at work. While very different (from brothers in apartheid South Africa to a meditation on the work of Iris Murdoch through a personal lens), these two biographies are written with unfailing confidence and professionalism.

The judges would like to thank all the entrants for providing a batch of reading second to none. The time it has taken to arrive at a decision is testament to the variety of approaches in both the proposals and scripts. All ms were judged anonymously and it is a pleasure to offer short biographies here of the two authors:

Author of 'My brother and I', C.J. ('Jonty') Driver

C.J. ('Jonty') Driver is a poet, novelist and essayist. For many years a teacher* - in Africa, Hong Kong and England - he is now a full-time writer, living in East Sussex, but travelling regularly to his country of birth, South Africa. President of National Union of South African Students, 1963 and 1964, and held in solitary confinement by the South African police in 1964. Refused renewal of passport while postgraduate student at Oxford, and remained a prohibited immigrant in South Africa until 1991. Honorary senior lecturer in the School of Literature and Creative Writing at UEA since 2007. A judge of the Caine Prize for African Writing in 2007 and 2008. Research Fellow at University of York in 1976 and more recently has held residencies at the Liguria Study Centre in Bogliasco, at the MacDowell Colony in New Hampshire, and at the Hawthornden Writers' Retreat.

He has published five novels (the first four of which have recently been re-issued by Faber Finds), a biography (of the South African radical, Patrick Duncan) and six books of poetry, the most recent So Far, Selected Poems 1964-2000. His Rhymes for the Grandchildren: Moose, Mouse and Other Rhymes, was published by the Peridot Press in November 2011.

*Sevenoaks School, 1964-65, and 1967-73 (Housemaster, International Sixth Form Centre)
Director, Sixth Form Studies, Matthew Humberstone Comprehensive School, 1973-78
Principal, Island School, Hong Kong, 1978-83
Headmaster, Berkhamsted School, 1983-89
Master of Wellington College, 1989-2000

Author of 'Becoming Iris Murdoch', Frances White

Frances White was born in London. As a small child she lived in Japan where she discovered reading. From then on she lived in books. Semi-educated at various schools, she talked her way into Hertford College, Oxford to read English, and briefly taught before turning towards libraries. After an M.A. in Librarianship at Loughborough University she did research for the British Library then retreated to rural Ireland where she kept goats and began a PhD on Iris Murdoch at Queen's University, Belfast. This was abandoned in favour of motherhood, hens, geese, pigs and gardening. However, her mis-spent youth reading Iris Murdoch caught up with her in the end and at the age of fifty - a late bloomer - she finally gained a PhD for a thesis on Murdoch's work, written whilst working as a cashier and horticultural buyer for the local supermarket. Married for over thirty years to Stephen White, an Anglican priest and theologian, she has two teenage sons. She has never published a book before.

Kingston University Press