Richard Mason
screenwriter, philanthropist; author of five novels including, Who Killed Piet Barol?

Richard Mason is “one of the outstanding writers of his generation” (Editor, Mail on Sunday). He’s the South African author of five novels: The Drowning People, Us, The Lighted Rooms, History of a Pleasure Seeker and Who Killed Piet Barol?

Mason’s novels have sold over a million copies in 28 languages. The Drowning People won Italy’s Grinzane Cavour prize for Best First Novel. The Lighted Rooms was longlisted for the Sunday Times award and the IMPAC prize, while History of a Pleasure Seeker also made the Sunday Times longlist, was shortlisted for a LAMMY and chosen as an Oprah pick. The Washington Post called it “the best new work of fiction … in many moons.”

Mason is adapting History of a Pleasure Seeker for television, with Bafta-winning director Philippa Lowthorpe.  He is also writing his first original show, Nexus, for Hat Trick Productions. In the coming year he will be working on several film and television projects, including a project with Bob Wood, former president of HBO.

Mason has written for European editions of Vanity Fair; American, British and Italian Vogue; the London Times, Guardian, Evening Standard, Tatler, Timeout and the New York Times. He’s appeared on Newsnight and been the subject of a CNN documentary.

With Nobel Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Mason founded the Kay Mason Foundation ( in 1999. In memory of his sister, the foundation helps disadvantaged young people in South Africa get superb educations.

In 2009, Mason founded Project Lulutho, a center for adult learning and green farming in South Africa’s rural Eastern Cape, and spent a year living under canvas – learning the language and culture of the Xhosa people. It was this experience that resulted in Who Killed Piet Barol?

You can watch the Youtube Series about the novel’s creation here

Follow Richard on Twitter: @masonauthor


Sunday 23 October, 12.00 Cinema 3
Have we lost the art of conversation?