Bill Bryson is an author of travel books, most of them written from a humorous point of view. He was born in 1951 and grew up in Des Moines, Iowa, where he lived with his parents and brother and sister. He traveled to England in 1973, where he met his future wife, they married and had 4 children. While Bryson lived in England he wrote travel articles for English newspapers The Times and The Independent. In 1995 he and his family moved to New Hampshire where they lived until returning to England in 2003.
Bryson has written many popular books, among them:
- The Lost Continent, a book Bryson wrote about his experiences in small town American cities while driving through several states.
- A Walk in the Woods, a humorous account of his hiking trip with a childhood friend along the Appalachian Trail.
- In a Sunburned Country (also released as "Down Under"); his inspiration for this book was a trip to Australia.
- Neither Here Nor There: Travels in Europe, published in 1991.
- Notes from a Small Island, published in 1995, was about his travels in the United Kingdom.
- Notes from a Big Country, a series of humorous columns he wrote for a magazine about absurdities of life in America (for example, evil payphones and junk food).
- The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid, describing his childhood in Des Moines and at the same time giving a child's perspective of current world affairs, including the Cold War. In the book he often laments how things have changed, and the book is written in such a way that readers sympathise with Bryson's lost world.
Besides travel, some of his interests include history of the English language and Science.
His recent book A Short History of Nearly Everything won the Aventis Prize for Science Books.
He also wrote a book about the origins of the English language in 1990 titled The Mother Tongue.
In July of 2004 Bryson received an honorary doctorate in Civil Law from Durham University, and from April of 2005 to December 2011 he was the Chancellor of Durham University, following Peter Ustinov.