With six acclaimed novels to his name, author Christopher Wakling’s literary works have been widely published and translated. Over the past few years, he has also been teaching creative writing. He has led courses for the Aryon Foundation and Bristol University.

In recent times, he is the creative consultant and lead tutor at Curtis Brown Creative. It is a writing school run by Curtis Brown, a London-based literary agency. Among his six published and acclaimed novels are What I Did, The Devil’s Mask, and On Cape Three Points.

Early days

Christopher Wakling was born in the year 1970. He spent his childhood in California and the south of England. After winning a scholarship at Oxford, he moved to London. While he was in London, he worked in Brick Lane for a Nigerian businessman. His job involved writing a significant amount of copy on a weekly basis.

He then started a PhD in Joyce, Faulkner and psycholinguistics at University College London (UCL). According to him, the PhD was not of much help to him. It only made him poor in Joyce, Faulkner, and psycholinguistics. He even went to a law school, which eventually led him to a job in this field. At the back of the court, he used to write stories in his legal notepads.

While at his desk, he spent his time reading photocopied novels despite the fear of getting caught. Before he left, he had worked for several impressive clients. They included the Football Association and People’s Republic of China. Although the work was quite interesting, it was not something that he liked and wanted to do.

First novel

After quitting his job, he went to Australia. He wrote his first novel while looking at a beach when he was in the country. The novel contained a lot of wave imagery that was inappropriate. His mother had told him that he had handled sex in a sensitive way with the waves. While he was in Australia, he took great efforts to learn surfing and flying a plane.

His father and grandfather were pilots in the Royal Air Force. So, he wanted to learn how to fly. Talking about this experience, he once mentioned that his plane was not that impressive as theirs. Upon returning to London from Australia, he wrote a novel and had it published before moving to Bristol. This move came at a time when the city was observing the bicentenary of the abolition of slave trade.

The Devil’s Mask and other works

As the bicentenary of the historic event was approaching, the city was figuring out what to do about it. This sparked an interest in him and inspired him to write The Devil’s Mask. He wrote this book while he was the fellow of the inaugural Royal Literary Fund (RLF). Besides working as an RLF fellow, he is a frequent contributor to The Independent.

Through his contributions as a travel journalist he has written on various destinations. They include Puerto Rico, Morocco, New Zealand, and Gambia. When he is not writing or working on other projects, he looks after his two little kids. He feels that fatherhood is a fantastic experience and has exposed some interesting flaws in character.

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