Silbury Hill in Wiltshire has inspired and perplexed people for generations. Artists and poets have fathomed their deepest thoughts searching for the hill's hidden meanings, archaeologists have tunnelled through earth for fragments that prove its purpose. But for all this human endeavour, Silbury Hill remains a mystery. We do kw it is the largest prehistoric mound in Europe. But was it once an island, moated by water? Was it a place of worship and celebration, perhaps a vast measure of the passing seasons? Along with Stonehenge and Avebury, was it part of a healing landscape or a physical memory of the long-ago dead? Silbury Hill is the sum of all that we project. A blank screen where human dreams and nightmares flicker. The hill has been part of Adam Thorpe's own life since his schooldays at Marlborough, which he would often escape in the surrounding downlands. He has carried Silbury ever since, through his teenage years in Cameroon, into his adulthood in southern England and France: its presence fused to each landscape which became his home. On Silbury Hill is Adam Thorpe's own projection onto Silbury's grassy slopes. It is a chalkland memoir told in fragments and family snapshots, skillfully built, layer on layer, from Britain's ancient and modern past.
Adam Thorpe was born in Paris in 1956 and brought up in India, Cameroon and southern England. His first collection of poetry, Mornings in the Baltic, was published in 1988 and was shortlisted for the Whitbread Poetry Award. His first novel, Ulverton, a panoramic view of rural English history, was published to great critical acclaim in 1992 and is now considered a modern classic. He has since published nine novels, five collections of poetry and two books of short stories. He has also published new translations of Flaubert's Madame Bovary and Emile Zola's Therese Raquin, had a stage play performed almost entirely in Berkshire dialect, and written numerous radio plays. He lives in France with his family and currently teaches at the Ecole Superieure des Beaux Arts de Nimes and at the University of Nimes.