Ackroyd began his literary career as a poet before moving into fiction, and has also written imaginatively convincing biographies of TS Eliot, Dickens, Blake and Thomas More. He excels in the dual narrative - two voicesseparated by centuries - and has consistently focused on London, its change and its continuity, as his subject and structure. Combining accessibility with scholarship and extensive research, his work has blurred the boundaries between biography and fiction and been critically and commercially successful.
Peter Ackroyd is the author of biographies of Ezra Pound, T.S. Eliot, Dickens, Blake, Wilkie Collins and Thomas More and of the acclaimed non-fiction bestsellers London: The Biography and Thames: Sacred River. Peter Ackroyd is an award-winning novelist, as well as a broadcaster, biographer, poet and historian. He has won the Whitbread Biography Award, the Royal Society of Literature's William Heinemann Award, the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, the Guardian Fiction Prize, the Somerset Maugham Award and the South Bank Prize for Literature. He holds a CBE for services to literature.
In both his fiction and non-fiction writing, Peter Ackroyd places a particular emphasis on exploring and chronicling the city of London, its history, literature, culture and people. He often does this through depicting the city's writers and artists as either fictional characters or biographical subjects. Consequently, Ackroyd is often defined as a 'London writer', and in this he follows in the footsteps of other London literary figures, many of whom feature in both his fiction and his non-fiction: Charles Dickens, William Blake, Thomas More, Thomas Chatterton, John Milton, Oscar Wilde and T.S. Eliot. Ackroyd comments: 'London has always provided the landscape for my imagination. It becomes a character - a living being - within each of my books' (Peter Ackroyd profile, Guardian online: guardian.co.uk, 22 July 2008).
Ackroyd was reading newspapers at five and had written a play about Guy Fawkes by the age of nine.
“I enjoy it, I suppose, but I never thought I’d be a novelist. I never wanted to be a novelist. I can’t bear fiction. I hate it. It’s so untidy. When I was a young man I wanted to be a poet, then I wrote a critical book, and I don’t think I even read a novel till I was about 26 or 27.”
When asked what he did outside of writing, he said, "I drink...that's about it.
The lists of his works is too long to reproduce here but it is more than worth a look. Here is the link to Wikipedia
Ackroyd has something for everyone. I can recommend Hawksmoor, a fine example of the dual narrative; Poe: A life cut short and for crime fans, The Trial of Elizabeth Cree (also published as Dan Leno and the Limehouse Golem)
Work in progress:
Three Brothers, a novel
A six volume 'History of England' - (Volume # 2 was published last September)
A biography of Charlie Chaplin.