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Overview (2)

Born in London, England, UK
Birth NameBernard Wiggins

Mini Bio (1)

Bernard Cornwell was born in 1944 in London, England as Bernard Wiggins. He is a writer, known for The Last Kingdom (2015), Rebel (2016) and Sharpe's Rifles (1993).

Trivia (5)

Became a writer after the US government would not give him a work permit.
A character named Rifleman Matthew Dodd appears in several of Bernard Cornwell's early (chronologically) Sharpe's novels, set during the Peninsular War. This is a passing nod to author C.S. Forester who wrote a novel featuring a British rifleman named Dodd, titled "Death to the French" (aka: "Rifleman Dodd"). Cornwell himself has said that his character is meant to be the same person as Forester's character.
Was adopted in infancy by the Wiggins family. In his adulthood, he changed his name to his birth mother's maiden name: Cornwell.
Announced that 'Sharpe's Peril' will begin filming in India in March 2008. The film, which stars Sean Bean, is an original story not based on one of Cornwell's novels. [January 2008]
Educated at London University and now lives in Chatham, Massachusetts. Also wrote under the name of Susannah Kells.

Personal Quotes (10)

Actually I moved to New Jersey in 1980 and didn't discover Chatham until 1990, by which time the books were selling, but it was still a daft decision, based solely on love.
Agents will read unpublished work because they might make money, and that's their job. It isn't mine.
And though I've lived in the States for over 25 years and am now an American citizen, I still hear British voices in my head.
And yes, there's a simplicity to writing books because you're not a member of a team, so you make all the decisions yourself instead of deferring to a committee.
Anyone who claims to have an entirely clear conscience is almost certainly a bore.
My wife and I co-wrote some books years ago until she got fed up with the process, and they were published under the name Susannah Kells - A Crowning Mercy, Fallen Angels and Coat of Arms.
On his Grail Quest novel series: The first book of the series is "Harlequin," unless you live in the United States where the book, to my considerable annoyance, was retitled as The Archer's Tale. Which is not a particularly bad title, but I hate it when publishers do that. Their reason was that there is a well-known series in the States called Harlequin Romances, much like the British Mills and Boon, and it was thought that folks would get confused and, thinking they were buying a bodice-ripper with heavy breathing, find instead that they had a tale of the Hundred Years War with arrow-spitted Frenchmen. So what?
Being a hero, of course, he has more lives than a basketfull of cats, but maybe Sharpe's greatest stroke of good fortune was meeting Sean Bean.
Years and years ago I was a journalist in Belfast and I remember a night just before Christmas when a group of us were sitting in a city-centre pub getting drunk and maudlin, and discussing, as journalists are wont to do, how much easier life would be if only we were novelists. No more hard work, just story-telling, and somehow we invented the name of an author and a bet was laid. The bet was a bottle of Jameson Whiskey from everyone about the table to be given to whichever one of us first wrote the book with the author's name. Years later I collected the winnings (long drunk) which is why, in second-hand shops, you might find the following: A Crowning Mercy, The Fallen Angels, Coat of Arms, by Bernard Cornwell, writing as Susannah Kells.
Yes, there are a number of inconsistencies in the Sharpe books. In one book I say that Sharpe and Hakeswill were together in the breach at Gawilghur and I knew that perfectly well when I wrote Sharpe's Fortress, but the story simply wouldn't work if they were, so I ignored the earlier book reference and wrote what, to me, was the better story. Maybe one day, far in the future, we might re-issue all the books, smoothed out, polished, etc etc, but it isn't high on the priority list.

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