Tom Sharpe (London, 1928) is a novelist. He studied at the University of Cambridge. Then, in 1951, he moved to Natal, South Africa, where he did social work and taught. In 1961 he wrote a book criticising apartheid and was imprisoned in Pietermaritzburg. From his experience in Africa he got the inspiration to write Riotous Assembly and Indecent Exposure. From 1963 to 1972 he taught history at the Cambridge College of Arts and Technology. He was awarded the Grand Prix de l’Humour Noir in 1986. In his novels we find corrosive humour which is sometimes cruel, but always lucid and inflexible regarding power, money, foolishness and injustice.
His books (especially the “Wilt” series) criticise the education system, the snobbishness of the English upper class, the banal literary world, political extremism of all kinds, bureaucracy and stupidity in general. His characters often use vulgar and explicit language. His books have been translated into many languages and some have been made into television series. Wilt was made into a film by Michael Tuchner in 1989. His works include Ancestral Vices, Wilt on High, Vintage Stuff, and The Midden. In September 2009 he published The Gropes. He has lived in Llafranc, on the Costa Brava, since 1995.
He received the LiberPress Literature Award for being a writer and a non-conformist but British; British but undisciplined; undisciplined but polite; polite but indomitable; indomitable but elegant; elegant but incisive; incisive but amiable; amiable but fun; fun but tender; tender but a good whisky drinker. For his acute, rebellious, corrosive, implacable and highly entertaining writing. For his ability, while attacking and ridiculing power, especially the corruption, pettiness and cretinism that characterise it, to make us think, reflect and, above all, laugh. And, finally, for having had the genteel madness or simply the inclination to want to live among us.