High Impact: David Nicholls

David Nicholls is one of this country’s most talented screenwriters. He most recently wrote a highly acclaimed original drama for BBC1 called The 7:39 and the forthcoming feature-film adaptation of Far From the Madding Crowd. He has also adapted both his first novel Starter for Ten and One Day for film.

He took the publishing world by storm in 2004 when his debut novel Starter For Ten became one of the big hits of the year. Tom Hanks’ production company, Playtone, snapped up the film rights and David then adapted the screenplay version which starred James McAvoy. It had a cinematic worldwide release in 2006 to great acclaim.

But writing wasn’t David’s first choice of career and his second novel The Understudy, which was published in 2005, drew on the years he spent acting. David left Bristol university wanting to be an actor and spent a year studying at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York. After several years of playing walk-on roles – clerks, guards and peasants – he decided it was perhaps time to try something else.

His first break came when a script that he wrote with theatre director friend Matthew Warchus (director of Art and Our House) was picked up in the States, and he found himself working on the feature film adaptation of Sam Shepard’s Simpatico, starring Jeff Bridges, Sharon Stone, Nick Nolte and Albert Finney.

He then returned to the UK and started writing for the BBC and Granada, where he worked on the third series of Cold Feet (for which he was nominated for a BAFTA), a pilot called I Saw You (eventually made by Granada, starring Fay Ripley), and then Rescue Me, a BBC drama set in the world of magazine publishing.

He then adapted Much Ado About Nothing starring Billie Piper as part of a series of modern day Shakespeare plays for the BBC, Tess of the D’Urbervilles again for the BBC. His dramatisation of Blake Morrison’s And When Did You Last See Your Father?, starring Colin Firth and Jim Broadbent, was released in 2007.

David’s third novel, One Day, was published in June 09, and it was an international publishing phenomenon. It sold 5m copies around the word, published in over forty languages and spent years on bestseller lists worldwide. David adapted the book for screen and the film was released in 2011 starring Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess.

David’s eagerly awaited fourth novel, Us, was published in September 2014. It received universal praise including outstanding reviews across the media, it was longlisted for The Man Booker Prize and David won UK Author of the Year 2014 at the National Book Awards. Us is publishing in paperback in May 2015. David is 46 years old and lives in London.

David Nicholls will talk to Rosie Goldsmith during the High Impact. Literature from the Low Countries event on 17 January at the Tabernacle in London. Other guests include Herman Koch, Esther Gerritsen, Joost de Vries, Sam Garrett and Jonathan Gibbs.

     

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