Philip Kerr Biography


(Masterpieces of Fiction, Detective and Mystery Edition)

Philip Ballantyne Kerr said that he wanted to be a writer from the very first moment he could read. His family, however, had different plans for him. He was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, on February 22, 1956. His father, a property developer, and his mother raised him in a strict household, imbuing him with a Scottish-Protestant work ethic and the desire to make something of himself. Education and their Baptist church were of central importance. The family moved south to Northampton, England, while he was in grammar school.

Kerr began writing early, completing his first short story when he was ten years old, and during his last year in secondary school, he won the Stopford Sackville English Prize. Still, his father insisted that he become a lawyer. In 1974 Kerr entered the University of Birmingham and finished a master’s degree in law in 1980. However, feeling that the legal profession did not suit him, he took a job at an advertising agency. He later worked as a copywriter for the prestigious firm Saatchi & Saatchi. At this profession, too, Kerr felt out of place. He later claimed that he never wrote a single successful advertising slogan and that he felt he was living a double life. He spent his days at the agency and his nights writing fiction at home.

After his first novel, March Violets, was published in 1989, he devoted himself to writing full time. In addition to writing novels, he compiled two anthologies, The Penguin...

(The entire section is 472 words.)