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Michael Holroyd is a well-known biographer and writer. He was born 27 August 1935 in London to Basil Holroyd and his Swedish wife Ulla (née Hall). He received his education at Eton College and Maidenhead Public Library. In 1982 he married the writer Margaret Drabble and they live in London and Somerset. He was Chairman of the Society of Authors, 1973-1974, President of English PEN from 1985 to 1988, and Chairman of the Strachey Trust between 1900 and 1995. In 1988 he was awarded the Irish Life Arts Award and the CBE in 1989 for services to literature. A former member of the Arts Council he lectures around the world on behalf of the British Council and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. The universities of Ulster, Sheffield, Warwick, East Anglia and the London School of Economics have presented him with honorary degrees.
Michael Holroyd is the biographer of Hugh Kingsmill, Lytton Strachey, Augustus John and Bernard Shaw, and in 2002 a selection of his writings relating to biography and autobiography was published under the title Works on Paper: The Craft of Biography and Autobiography. The film 'Carrington' is based on Lytton Strachey and won awards at Cannes. His novel A Dog's Life was published in the USA in 1969 and in 1973 his volume of essays Unreceived Opinions was published. Michael Holroyd has also written various radio and television scripts. In 1999 his autobiography Basil Street Blues was published.