Michael Frayn is an English playwright, screenwriter, and novelist. Born in Middlesex, England in 1933, Frayn grew up in Surrey before studying Philosophy at Cambridge University. He began his career as a reporter for The Guardian and The Observer newspapers, where he gained a reputation as a satirical writer. His first novel, The Tin Men, was published in 1965 and won the Somerset Maugham Award the following year. In 1970, Frayn published his first play The Two of Us, which consisted of four one-act plays for two actors to perform. The play was a success and Frayn followed it with plays such as Balmoral, Clouds, and Liberty Hall. In 1982, he had a huge hit with Noises Off, which premiered in London’s West End and subsequently transferred to Broadway. The play has since been twice revived on Broadway, most recently in 2015.
During the 1990s and early 2000s, Frayn continued to write for the stage, producing plays such as Audience, Here, and Copenhagen, which won the Tony Award for Best Play and has subsequently been adapted for film. His 2008 play Afterlife tells the story of Austrian theatrical director and actor Max Reinhardt. Frayn is fluent in Russian and is considered to be one of the best contemporary translators of Anton Chekhov’s plays. He has also translated Leo Tolstoy’s Fruits of Enlightenment. Frayn has written a series of novels, including Headlong, Spies (winner of the Whitbread Prize for Fiction in 2002), Skios (long-listed for the Man Booker Prize in 2012), and A Very Private Life.
Frayn is married to the biographer Claire Tomalin and has 3 daughters. He declined a CBE and a Knighthood in 1989 and 2003 respectively.
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