Simon Garfield was born in London in 1960. He is the author of an appealingly diverse and unpredictable canon of non-fiction, including Just My Type, On the Map, Mauve, The Nation's Favourite, The End of Innocence, To The Letter, A Notable Woman and The Wrestling, and has edited three popular collections of diaries from the Mass Observation Archive.
His latest book is Timekeepers: How the World Became Obsessed With Time, a pacy collection of essays on how the Beatles learnt to be brilliant in an hour and a half, how an Englishman arrived back from Calcutta but refused to adjust his watch, and how a US Senator gave a speech that lasted more than 24 hours. We also learn how the horrors of war are frozen at the click of a camera, a woman designs a ten-hour clock and reinvents the calendar, and Roger Bannister lives out the same four minutes forever.
Timekeepers is a book about our obsession with time and our desire to measure it, control it, sell it, film it, perform it, immortalise it and make it meaningful. It has two simple intentions: to tell some illuminating stories, and to ask whether we have all gone completely nuts.
Simon Garfield's quirky history of fonts, Just My Type, turned out to be a hit, which reassured him that he was not alone in his passions. His book On The Map was also an international bestseller, while his book To The Letter was one of the inspirations for the Letters Live theatrical events. My Dear Bessie was turned into a BBC Radio 4 play starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Louise Brealey.
Garfield also edited A Notable Woman: The Romantic Journals of Jean Lucey Pratt. This is an edited collection of one woman's remarkable 60-year diary, beginning in 1925 when she was 15 and ending a few week before her death in 1986. Jean lived in Wembley, Hampstead and Burnham Beeches, and she wrote lyrically, comically and honestly about her world and her friends (and particularly well about how disappointing men are.). She trained as a journalist and an architect, and ran a bookshop for 20 years. Jean wrote well over a million words, and A Notable Woman, which contains about a quarter of her output, fulfils a long-standing dream of hers that her writing would one day make it into print.
Garfield also enjoys Hampstead Heath, cycling, globe-spinning by Presuming Ed, and writing by Tracy Kidder, Nicholson Baker, Olivia Laing, Max Porter, The National, Dylan, Kanye, Costello and Angel Olsen.