Born in 1928 in Mitchelstown, Co. Cork, William Trevor was educated at Trinity College, Dublin, and worked as a sculptor, teacher and advertising copywriter.
His many novels include The Old Boys (1964), which won the Hawthornden Prize; The Love Department (1966); Elizabeth Alone (1973); and The Silence in the Garden (1988), which won the Yorkshire Post Book of the Year Award. The Children of Dynmouth (1976) and Fools of Fortune (1983) both won the Whitbread Award. Felicia’s Journey (1994) won both the Whitbread and Sunday Express Book of the Year awards, and was made into a film in 1999. In 2002, a new novel, The Story of Lucy Gault, was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and the Whitbread Prize.
His short story collections were published in one volume in 1992, and a collection of autobiographical essays appeared in 1993. Another collection, The Hill Bachelors (2000), won the 2001 Irish Times Literature Prize for Fiction and the Macmillan Silver Pen Award for Short Stories. In 1992 he received the Sunday Times Award for Literary Excellence and in 1999 the David Cohen British Literature Prize for lifetime achievement.
In 1977 he was awarded an honorary CBE, and in 2002 he received an honorary knighthood for his services to literature. He won the Whitbread Prize three times and was nominated five times for the Booker Prize, most recently for his novel Love and Summer (2009), which was also shortlisted for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award in 2011. He was a member of the Irish Academy of Letters, and lived in Devon, England.
In 2014, the members of Aosdána elected William Trevor to the position of Saoi to honour his outstanding achievements as a novelist and short story writer. At a conferring ceremony, the President of Ireland presented him with a torc, the symbol of Aosdána.