Readers of Brian Thompson's first volume of memoir, Keeping Mum, winner of the Costa Book Award for Biography 2006, were delighted by the story of a young boy's struggle to run a wartime household in his father's absence. In Clever Girl, a brilliantly observed portrait of the 1950s, we join him again on his erratic journey towards adulthood. Brian Thompson excelled at school and met a girl - the girl of the title - who recognised his ambition to escape the miserable lives his parents had made for each other. With her he set himself the task of discovering the healing waters of pure ordinariness.Brian spent his National Service in the King's African Rifles, fighting a colonial war in Kenya, with the dubious assistance of his platoon sergeant, one Idi Amin. He read English at Cambridge in the last days of old-style university education and at the very cusp of the new popular culture ushered in by rock and roll. Suitably confused, Brian did what was considered to be the right thing. He married the Clever Girl.
Brian Thompson was born in Lambeth, London in 1935. After vigorous rescue remedies applied by two grammar schools, he read English at Cambridge. Since 1973 he has written for a living as a radio and television playwright and documentary film maker. His first volume of memoir, Keeping Mum, was published by Atlantic in 2006. He is also the author of several acclaimed biographies including A Monkey Among Crocodiles and The Nightmare of a Victorian Bestseller. He lives in Oxford.