J.G. Farrell was born in Liverpool in 1935 and spent a good deal of his life abroad, including periods in France and North America, and then settled in London where he wrote most of his novels. In April 1979 he went to live in County Cork where only four months later he was drowned in a fishing accident.
John Sutherland is Lord Northcliffe Professor Emeritus of Modern English Literature at University College London and currently teaches at the California Institute of Technology. He writes regularly for the Guardian and is the author of many books including The Longman Companion to Victorian Fiction, biographies of Scott and Spender, and The Boy Who Loved Books, a memoir.