New York born Alexander Masters is an award-winning author and screenwriter who lives and works in England. He is the writer and illustrator of Stuart: A Life Backwards – the biography of Stuart Shorter.
He won an Arts Council Writers’ Award for Stuart and went on to win the Guardian First Book Award and the Hawthornden Prize. The book was also shortlisted (in the biography category) for the Whitbread Book-of-the-Year Award, the Samuel Johnson Prize, and the National Book Critics Circle Award in the United States. He also wrote a screenplay adaptation, filmed in 2006 for the BBC and HBO, and broadcast in September 2007. Masters himself was portrayed by Benedict Cumberbatch. It won the Royal Television Society Award in the Single Drama category and the Reims International Television award for the Best TV Screenplay.
He is also the author of Gary’s Friends (2007),The Genius In My Basement (2011) and A Life Discarded (2016).
Alexander Master’s was a featured author in the Guardian’s Writers Rooms series in 2009.
There’s no pattern about the way I write, except it’s always the first thing I do. I wake up anywhere between 4am and 10am, depending on the merriments of the night before or if a dream jolts me, then scribble, type or slash through yesterday’s work till I start to feel a little sick from not eating. Breakfast is unhealthy; it makes me sleepy and stupid, so I put the nasty business off as long as possible. When my girlfriend’s here I leave her sleeping and go to Haminados café up the road. That man never sleeps. Then once she’s up I come home, close the curtains, leap back among the covers and, with any luck, don’t use my legs again until about four.
My last place was a Suffolk shooting lodge by woodland. On the days I woke early there, I’d sit 15 feet up, in a deer-shooting perch strapped to a tree. That was the best study of all time: 5am, wrapped in blankets, with my gasman’s clipboard, a thermos of coffee, and deer trotting below me through the mist.