Vernon God Little (Pierre)

Author Bio
Alias—Peter Warren Finlay
Education—Edron Academy (Mexico City)
Awards—Booker Prize; Whitbread First Novel Award;
   Bollinger Everyman Woodhouse Award;
Currently—lives in Ireland, UK

DBC Pierre was raised in Mexico between the ages of 7 and 23, although he has also traveled extensively. He lived a very privileged life in the milieu of that 2 percent of Mexico that holds the country's wealth and spent much time in the USA. Despite a very unrealistic, or "fairy-tale" childhood, he found himself more in tune as a child with the other 98 percent of Mexicans, and increasingly escaped home to run with the street crowd. When, at 16, his father fell gravely ill, he was largely entrusted with the family home, its cars and staff, and without recourse to counsel or reason, in his grief embarked upon a life of blithe self-destruction, alongside another half dozen junior rakes. Only two of them survived their twenties, and then only just:

Mexico, with its contrasts, its crushing poverty and sparkling wealth, its institutionalised corruption and cultural wisdom, its love of life and its embracing of death, undoubtedly set me on a path toward the deep end, philosophically and emotionally speaking. A fast and careless life had put me in tune with the common man, for whom a throw of the dice would mean life or death.

When, as a teenager, I set out for Texas to bring cars over the border, I saw that the same divides applied to the richest country on earth. Truest kinship was found in a group of homeless derelicts who camped under a bridge beside where I used to stay. It is in their broken-down lives that the seeds for Vernon were planted.

DBC Pierre has worked as a designer and cartoonist and currently lives in Ireland. Vernon God Little, his first novel, was awarded the 2003 the Booker Prize, Whitbread First Novel Award, and the Bollinger Everyman Woodhouse Award.

• Pierre's true-life journey from debt-ridden drug addict to Booker Prize winner has been a stranger-than-fiction ride. He told the (London) Guardian, "For nine years I was in a drug haze, on a rampage of cocaine, heroin, anything I could get. I am not proud of what I have done and I now want to put it right."

• During his dark years of gambling and drug addiction, he once even sold the house of his best friend—and stole the proceeds.

• In addition, he ran up hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt by taking part in a scheme to find Montezuma's gold in Mexico.

• He has said that the £50,000 check awarded with the Booker Prize would go about one-third of the way to settling his outstanding debts.

• Pierre landed a publishing deal for his first novel one hour before the first plane hit the World Trade Center on September, 11, 2001. "Ever since, I feel like there's some dark destiny swirling around the book," he said. (Author bio from Barnes & Noble, courtesy of Faber and Faber Ltd.)

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