Richard Beard is the author of four novels. X20 (Flamingo 1996) is about a man giving up smoking: every time he wants a cigarette, he writes something down instead. Damascus (Flamingo 1998) is a love-story set on a single day, 1 November 1993, and all the nouns in the novel come from that day’s edition of The Times newspaper. The Cartoonist (Bloomsbury 2000) is a novel set in and around Disneyland Paris, in which libel and copyright restrictions prevent the characters from ever entering the Disneyland theme-park.Dry Bones published by Secker and Warburg in February 2004 , is a ‘rollercoaster philosophical journey of Stoppard-like brilliance.’ (Glasgow Herald).Beard is also the author of three works of non-fiction, Muddied Oafs, The Last Days of Rugger (Yellow Jersey 2003), Manly Pursuits, Beating the Australians (Yellow Jersey 2006), and Becoming Drusilla (Harvill Secker 2008).After studying at Cambridge, Richard Beard worked in Hong Kong and at the Dragon School in Oxford, as a games teacher. After a spell as private secretary to Mathilda, Duchess of Argyll, Beard moved to Paris where he worked at the National Library while continuing his studies with the Open University. In 1994, he enrolled on Malcolm Bradbury’s Creative Writing MA at the University of East Anglia, followed by two years in Geneva.In 1998, Beard and his family moved to a house in the Mendip Hills owned by the Royal Society of Literature. After six years in Somerset, near Midsomer Norton and then Wells, he went to Japan in 2003 as visiting professor at the University of Tokyo.In 2006 he returned to Europe for some frontier-living in Strasbourg, and is now Director of the National Academy of Writing in Birmingham.