William Trevor

William Trevor, KBE grew up in various provincial towns and attended several schools, graduating from Trinity College, in Dublin, with a degree in history. He first exercised his artistry as a sculptor, working as a teacher in Northern Ireland and then emigrated to England in search of work when the school went bankrupt. He could have returned to Ireland once he became a successful writer, he said, “but by then I had become a wanderer, and one way and another, I just stayed in England … I hated leaving Ireland. I was very bitter at the time. But, had it not happened, I think I might never have written at all.”

In 1958 Trevor published his first novel, A Standard of Behaviour, to little critical success. Two years later, he abandoned sculpting completely, feeling his work had become too abstract, and found a job writing copy for a London advertising agency. ‘This was absurd,’ he said. ‘They would give me four lines or so to write and four or five days to write it in. It was so boring. But they had given me this typewriter to work on, so I just started writing stories. I sometimes think all the people who were missing in my sculpture gushed out into the stories.’ He published several short stories, then his second and third novels, which both won the Hawthornden Prize (established in 1919 by Alice Warrender and named after William Drummond of Hawthornden, the Hawthornden Prize is one of the UK’s oldest literary awards). Several other prizes followed, and Trevor began working full-time as a writer in 1965.

Books in order of publication:

Novels and novellas

Trevor, William (1958). A standard of behaviour. Hutchinson.

The Old Boys (Bodley Head, 1964)

The Boarding House (Bodley Head, 1965)

The Love Department (Bodley Head, 1966)

Mrs Eckdorf in O’Neill’s Hotel (Bodley Head, 1969)

Miss Gomez and the Brethren (Bodley Head, 1971)

Elizabeth Alone (Bodley Head, 1973)

The Children of Dynmouth (Bodley Head, 1976)

The Distant Past (Poolbeg Press, 1979)

Other People’s Worlds (Bodley Head, 1980)

Fools of Fortune (Bodley Head, 1983)

Nights at the Alexandra (Hutchinson, 1987)

The Silence in the Garden (Bodley Head, 1988)

  • Two Lives (the two novellas Reading Turgenev and My House in Umbria) (Viking Press, 1991)
  • Felicia’s Journey (Viking, 1994)
  • Death in Summer (Viking, 1998)
  • The Story of Lucy Gault (Viking, 2002)
  • Love and Summer (Viking, 2009)
  • The Dressmaker’s Child (Penguin Books)

Short story collections

The Day We Got Drunk on Cake and Other Stories (Bodley Head, 1967)

The Ballroom of Romance and Other Stories (Bodley Head, 1972)

The Last Lunch of the Season (Covent Garden Press, 1973)

Angels at the Ritz and Other Stories (Bodley Head, 1975)

Lovers of their Time (Bodley Head, 1978)

Beyond the Pale (Bodley Head, 1981)

The Stories of William Trevor (Penguin, 1983)

The News from Ireland and Other Stories (Bodley Head, 1986)

Family Sins and Other Stories (Bodley Head, 1989)

Outside Ireland: Selected Stories (Viking, 1992)

The Collected Stories (Viking, 1992; Penguin, 1993, 2003)

After Rain (Viking, 1996)

Cocktails at Doney’s (Bloomsbury Classics, 1996)

The Hill Bachelors (Viking, 2000)

A Bit On the Side (Viking, 2004)

Cheating at Canasta (Viking, 2007)

Bodily Secrets (Penguin Great Loves, 2007; new selection of stories from earlier collections)

The Collected Stories (Viking, 2009),”.

Selected Stories (Viking, 2010), listed as “the second volume of his collected stories”.

Last Stories (Viking, 2018)


Play for Today: O Fat White Woman (1971, adaptation from short story)

The Old Boys (Davis-Poynter, 1971)

A Night with Mrs da Tanka (Samuel French, 1972)

Going Home (Samuel French, 1972)

Marriages (Samuel French, 1973)

The Ballroom of Romance (Pat O’Connor, 1982)

Going Home (Samuel French, 1972)

Children’s books

Juliet’s Story (The O’Brien Press, Dublin, 1991)

Juliet’s Story (Bodley Head, 1992)


A Writer’s Ireland: Landscape in Literature (Thames & Hudson, 1984)

Trevor, William (1993). Excursions in the real world : memoirs. Hutchinson

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