Garry O’Connor

Garry O’Connor has written biographies of Ralph Richardson, Sean O’Casey, Peggy Ashcroft, Paul Scofield, William Shakespeare, and most recently Alec Guinness (Alec Guinness The Unknown). He comes from a family of musicians and artists; his father was the well-known Irish tenor, Cavan O’Connor, while his great- aunt (and subject of The Pursuit of Perfection, his first biography) was Maggie Teyte, the operatic soprano and interpreter of French song. Darlings of the Gods, his account of Vivien Leigh and Laurence Olivier’s marriage and Australian tour of 1948 was filmed in 1991 for television and shown all over the world. He lives near Banbury in Oxfordshire.

Bloomsbury published his biography of Pope John Paul II, the first to tell the full and extraordinary story of one of the most influential figures of the twentieth century, and which sets the private individual in the public context. ‘What is new and unusual about this timely biography is the attention the author gives to the inner man. Garry O’Connor has not only investigated Karol’s Wojtyla’s life before he became pope, his love of football, skiing and the outdoor life, his commitment to acting, his friendships with men and women, his experiences under German then Soviet occupation, his early years as a priest, but he has also subtly analysed the pope’s own poems, plays and philosophical works as clues to what makes him tick. The result is a living portrait, vivid and accessible, based on scrupulous research that dramatically tracks the personal tragedies, including the assassination attempt in 1981, and the great public confrontations on the world stage.’