Patrick Gale

Patrick Gale is a British novelist and the author of 20 books, including Rough Music (2000), Notes From an Exhibition (2007), and the Costa-nominated A Place Called Winter (2015). He wrote the acclaimed TV drama Man in an Orange Shirt, based on his parent's marriage, the centerpiece of the Gay Britannia season on BBC in 2017.

Patrick Gale was born on the Isle of Wight, where his father was prison governor at Camp Hill, as his grandfather had been at nearby Parkhurst. He was the youngest of four. The family moved to London, where his father ran Wandsworth Prison, then to Winchester.

Patrick began boarding as a Winchester College Quirister at the cathedral choir school, Pilgrim's. At thirteen, he went on to Winchester College. He finished his formal education with an English degree from New College, Oxford, in 1983.

"My admissions tutors at Oxford denied me one of the "closed" scholarships then available at New College for applicants from Winchester, not because my essays on Jacobean tragedy and George Eliot were substandard but because my essays in the general paper had revealed "alarming political naivete," the writer recalls.

While working on his first novels, Patrick Galecarved out his meager living from casual part-time jobs: as a typist, a singing waiter, a designer's secretary, a ghost-writer for an encyclopedia of the musical, and as a book reviewer.

Abacus published his first two novels, The Aerodynamics of Pork and Ease on the same day in June 1986.

"Novel writing paid extraordinarily poorly — I was rewarded with just £2,500 each for my first two novels and £3,000 each for the next two," Gale says.

The following year he moved to Camelford near the north coast of Cornwall and began a love affair with the county that has fed his work ever since.

In 2017 he made his screenwriting debut with Man in an Orange Shirt, an original drama that formed part of the Gay Britannia season on BBC. The show won the 2018 International Emmy for Best Miniseries.

His most recent is the historical novel Mother’s Boy (2022). It is based on the known facts of the boyhood and youth of the great Cornish poet Charles Causley and the life of the mother who raised him singlehandedly.

He now lives in the far west, on a farm near Land's End, with his husband, Aidan Hicks. There they raise beef cattle and grow barley. As well as gardening, he plays both the modern and baroque cello. His chief extravagance in life is opera.

Photo credit:
years of life: 31 January 1962 present
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