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Jones at a 2012 book reading

Adam Mars-Jones (born 26 October 1954) is a British novelist and literary critic.


Early life and educationEdit

Mars-Jones was born in London, to Sir William Mars-Jones (1915–1999),[1][2] a Welsh High Court judge and a President of the London Welsh Trust, and Sheila Mary Felicity (1923–1999),[3] an attorney, daughter of Charles Cobon, a marine engineer.[4][5][6] Mars-Jones studied at Westminster School, and read Classics at Trinity Hall, Cambridge.


Mars-Jones is a regular contributor to The Guardian, The Observer, The Times Literary Supplement, and BBC Television's Newsnight Review, and the London Review of Books.

His first collection of stories, Lantern Lecture (1981), won a Somerset Maugham Award. Other works include Monopolies of Loss (1992) and The Darker Proof: Stories from a Crisis (1987), which was co-written with Edmund White. His first novel, The Waters of Thirst, was published in 1993. Blind Bitter Happiness (1997), a collection of essays, includes "Venus Envy", a polemic against Martin Amis, which was originally published in the CounterBlasts series in 1990. Pilcrow (2008) was his second novel, followed by Cedilla in 2011. These two works form the first two parts of a projected trilogy.

He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 2007.[7]

In 2011 he wrote a book called Noriko Smiling on the film Late Spring directed by Yasujirō Ozu.[8][9]

In 2012 he was awarded the inaugural Hatchet Job of the Year Award for his review of Michael Cunningham's By Nightfall.[10]

On 2 January 2015 Mars-Jones was captain of the winning team on Christmas University Challenge, representing Trinity Hall, Cambridge who defeated Balliol College, Oxford, the University of Edinburgh and the University of Hull His teammates were international rower Tom James, world champion cyclist Emma Pooley and actor Dan Starkey.[11]

Personal lifeEdit

In 2015 Mars-Jones wrote a memoir of his complex relationship with his father, including his father's struggle to come to terms with his son's homosexuality.[12]


Date Title
1981 Lantern Lecture
1987 The Darker Proof: Stories from a Crisis (with Edmund White)
1990 Venus Envy
1992 The Monopolies of Loss
1994 The Waters of Thirst
1997 Blind Bitter Happiness
2008 Pilcrow
2011 Cedilla
2011 Noriko Smiling[8]
2015 Kid Gloves: A Voyage Round My Father


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ Who was Who, St Martin's Press, 1996, pg 386
  4. ^ Graya: A Magazine for Members of Gray's Inn, issue 107, 1999, pg 110
  5. ^ Morton, James (25 January 1999). "Obituary Sir William Mars-Jones". The Independent. UK. Retrieved 4 February 2011.
  6. ^ "Our Former Presidents: London Welsh Centre". London Welsh Centre website. London Welsh Centre. 2010. Archived from the original on 20 July 2011. Retrieved 4 February 2011.
  7. ^ "Royal Society of Literature All Fellows". Royal Society of Literature. Archived from the original on 5 March 2010. Retrieved 10 August 2010.
  8. ^ a b Mars-Jones, Adam. Noriko Smiling. Notting Hill Editions.
  9. ^ Cozy, David (25 March 2012). "An unserious look at the work of Japanese director Yasujiro Ozu". Japan Times. Retrieved 31 March 2012.
  10. ^
  11. ^ "University Challenge Victory". Trinity Hall, Cambridge. 2 January 2015. Archived from the original on 3 January 2015. Retrieved 3 January 2015.
  12. ^

External linksEdit