James Graham Ballard

J. G. Ballard | Photo by Jerry Bauer

British author J. G. Ballard was born in Shanghai in 1930. After the invasion of Pearl Harbor, his family was detained in a concentration camp for foreigners until 1946, when they returned to England. His first novel, The Drowned World, published in 1962, and its ensuing speculative novels, The Burning World (1964), afterwards published as The Drought  in 1965, and The Crystal World (1966), define his literary style, which has been dubbed Ballardian, of ‘dystopian modernity’.

He summarizes his experience of life in a Chinese concentration camp in Empire of the Sun (1984), which has won many awards, including the Black Memorial Prize and Booker Prize, and adapted for film by Steven Spielberg, and published its continuation, The Kindness of Women, in 1991. His postmodern novel The Atrocity Exhibition (1970) has been compared to W. S. Boroughs’ novels, and his ‘extremely controversial’ Crash (1973) has been adapted for film by David Cronenberg and High Rise (1975) by Ben Wheatley.

Ballard died in London in 2009.

Outstanding awards and distinctions

  • 1984 – Guardian Fiction Prize for Empire of the Sun
  • 1984 – James Tait Black Memorial Prize for fiction for Empire of the Sun
  • 1984 – Empire of the Sun shortlisted for the Booker Prize for Fiction
  • 1997 – De Montfort University Honorary doctorate
  • 2001 – Commonwealth Writers' Prize (Europe & South Asia region) for Super-Cannes
  • 2008 – Golden PEN Award
  • 2009 – Royal Holloway University of London Posthumous honorary doctorate

Books

Selected novels

  • The Drowned World (1962)
  • The Burning World (1964)
  • The Crystal World (1966)
  • Empire of the Sun (1984)
  • The Kindness of Women (1991)
  • The Atrocity Exhibition (1970)
  • Crash (1973)
  • Concrete Island (1974)
  • High Rise (1975)
  • The Unlimited Dream Company (1979)
  • Hello America (1981)
  • Super-Cannes (2000)

Selected short story collections

  • The Voices of Time and Other Stories (1962)
  • Billennium (1962)
  • Passport to Eternity (1963)
  • The Four-Dimensional Nightmare (1963)
  • The Terminal Beach (1964)
  • The Impossible Man (1966)
  • The Overloaded Man (1967)
  • The Disaster Area (1967)
  • The Day of Forever (1967)
  • Vermilion Sands (1971)
  • Chronopolis and Other Stories (1971)
  • Low-Flying Aircraft and Other Stories (1976)
  • The Venus Hunters (1980)
  • Myths of the Near Future (1982)
  • The Voices of Time (1985)
  • Memories of the Space Age (1988)
  • War Fever (1990)

Books by James Graham Ballard