Bill Bryson

William " Bill" McGuire Bryson, OBE, ( born December 8, 1951 in Des Moines, Iowa) is an American journalist and writer. He became famous primarily for his informative and humorous travel stories from Europe, the United States and Australia. Bryson was from 2005 until the end of 2011 Chancellor ( Chancellor, a largely ceremonial office ) of the prestigious British University of Durham, which awarded him an honorary doctorate.


Bryson, son of a journalist family in Des Moines, graduated from Drake University, interrupted his studies and came in1973 as a backpacker to England. He worked for two years in a psychiatric hospital in Virginia Water, Surrey. There he met Cynthia Billen, a nurse in training, know. After marrying in 1974, he moved with his wife back to the U.S. to make up his college degree at Drake University ( 1975-1977 ). Back in England, he wrote two years for the " Bournemouth Evening Echo". In 1977 he moved back to England and worked here for " Financial Weekly " and later for The Times and The Independent. In 1995 he moved with his wife and four children of Kirkby Malham, North Yorkshire, to Hanover, New Hampshire. In 2003 he returned with his family again returned to England. In 2005 he was the successor of Peter Ustinov as Chancellor of the University of Durham in North East England and currently lives in Wymondham, Norfolk.

The international breakthrough as a writer Bryson succeeded in 1995 with the England book " Ready for the island " ( engl: " Notes from A Small Iceland "). This was followed by numerous other titles rankings in the English, American and more recently German bestseller lists, which made him become one of the most popular nonfiction authors of the present. With much humor and expertise he describes small travel adventure, celebrates and refutes national prejudices, commented historical events and tells (self ) irony of personally experienced anecdotes that colorize its information subjectively and loosen entertaining.


  • 2004 Aventis Prize for Science Books for " A Short History of Nearly Everything "
  • 2004 Honorary doctorate from the University of Durham
  • 2004 Aventis Prize for Science Books
  • 2005-2011 Chancellor of the University of Durham
  • 2005 Descartes Prize of the European Commission for " A Short History of Nearly Everything "
  • 2005 President's Award of the Royal Society of Chemistry
  • 2005 establishment of the Bill Bryson prize as part of the Royal Society of Chemistry to promote academic writing in schools
  • 2005 honorary doctorate from Bournemouth University
  • 2005 Descartes Science Communication Prize
  • 2006 Key to the City his hometown of Des Moines
  • 2007 James Joyce Award of the Literary and Historical Society of University College Dublin
  • 2007 Golden Eagle Award
  • Since 2007 president of the Campaign to Protect Rural England
  • 2008 honorary doctorate from the University of Leicester
  • 2013 Honorary Member of the Royal Society


Travel literature

  • The Palace Under the Alps and Over 200 Other Unusual, Unspoiled, and Infrequently Visited Spots in 16 European Countries (1985 )
  • The Lost Continent: Travels in Small Town America ( 1989) (Engl. Routes to the Past: Traveling through the forgotten America) ISBN 3-442-46380-7
  • Neither Here nor There: Travels in Europe. (1993 ) (Engl. roaming through the West: Europe for beginners and advanced, 2001, ISBN 3- 442-45073 -X or Where, please, leads to Domodossola Ullsteinhaus, Berlin, 1996, ISBN 3-548-23850-5? . )
  • Notes from a small Iceland (1995 ) (Engl. ready for the island: England for beginners and advanced ) ISBN 3-442-46596-6
  • A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail. (1997) (Engl. picnic with Bear, 1999) ISBN 3-442-44395-4
  • I'm a Stranger Here Myself ( U.S. ) / Notes From a Big Country (UK ) (1999 ) (Engl. from a Big Country: The United States of America for beginners and advanced ) ISBN 3-442-45124-8
  • In a Sunburned Country (USA) / Down Under ( UK) ( 2000) (English breakfast with kangaroos: Australian Adventure) ISBN 3-442-45379-8
  • Bill Bryson 's African Diary (2003) (Engl. My Africa diary ) ISBN 3-936261-19-9

Literature on language and science

  • The Mother Tongue: English and How it Got That Way. (1989)
  • Mother Tongue. The English Language:. The English Language. (1991)
  • Made in America: an Informal History of the English Language in the United States. (1994)
  • The Penguin Dictionary of Troublesome Words. (1984 ), revised edition under the title of Troublesome Words. (1997)

Science and Education Literature

  • A Short History of Nearly Everything ( dt A Short History of Nearly Everything ) (2003 ) ISBN 3-442-46071-9
  • Shakespeare: The World as a Stage (English Shakespeare - as I see it ) (2007 ) ISBN 3-442-31095-4
  • At Home: A Short History of Private Life (Eng. A brief history of everyday things ) (2010 ) ISBN 978-3-442-30122-5
  • One Summer: America 1927 (2013)


  • The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid ( 2006) (Engl. My America: Memories of a normal childhood) ISBN 978-3-442-30116-4