journalist and novelist, born in Berkshire and educated at Emmanuel College, Cambridge. He received widespread recognition with Birdsong (1993), a novel with a double timescale set largely in France in the trenches during the First World War and dealing in part with the underground lives of sappers: there is a vivid account of the night before the battle of the Somme. Charlotte Gray (1998) explores Franco‐British relations and the Nazi occupation of France during the Second World War. On Green Dolphin Street (2001) is a love story with a political background set in Washington at the end of the Eisenhower era. Human Traces (2005) is set in the 19th cent. The Fatal Englishman: Three Short Lives (1996) links biographical essays by a common theme of early death and a self‐destructive impulse: the painter Christopher Wood; pilot and author Richard Hillary; and journalist Jeremy Wolfenden.