Louis de Bernieres was born in London in 1954. After graduating in Philosophy from the Victoria University of Manchester, he took a postgraduate certificate in Education at Leicester Polytechnic and passed his MA, with distinction, at the University of London. He has held various jobs: landscape gardener, mechanic, officer cadet at Sandhurst and schoolteacher in both Colombia and England.
De Bernières’ first novel, The War of Don Emmanuel’s Nether Parts, was published in 1990 and won the Commonwealth Writers Prize, Best First Book Eurasia Region in 1991. The next year, his second book, Señor Vivo and the Coca Lord, won the Commonwealth Writers Prize, Best Book Eurasia Region. His third book, The Troublesome Offspring of Cardinal Guzman, was published in 1992. These works were influenced by de Bernières’ experiences in Colombia and together make up his ‘Latin American trilogy’.
Louis de Bernières was selected by Granta magazine as one of the twenty Best of Young British Novelists in 1993. Since then he has become well known internationally as a writer, with Captain Corelli's Mandolin winning the Commonwealth Writers' Prize for Best Novel in 1994. His acclaimed sixth novel, Birds Without Wings, came out in 2004. A Partisan's Daughter (2008), was shortlisted for the Costa Novel Award and Notwithstanding: English Village Stories, was published in Autumn 2009. De Bernieres’ first collection of poetry, Imagining Alexandria: Poems in Memory of Constantinos Cavafis (2013) is also available in audio, read by the author (CD and download). His major new novel, The Dust That Falls From Dreams, was published in July 2015.
As well as writing, de Bernieres plays the flute, mandolin and guitar. He lives in Norfolk.