Louis de Bernières (born 8 December 1954) is a British novelist most famous for his fourth novel, Captain Corelli's Mandolin.
Louis H. P. de Bernières-Smart was born near Woolwich in London in 1954 and grew up in Surrey, the first part of his surname being inherited from a French Huguenot forefather. He was educated at Bradfield College and joined the army when he was 18, but left after four months of service at Sandhurst. He attended the Victoria University of Manchester and the Institute of Education, University of London. Before he began to write full-time he held a wide variety of jobs, including being a mechanic, a motorcycle messenger and an English teacher in Colombia. He now lives near Bungay in Suffolk in a large house.
In 2009 he separated from his partner, Cathy, who took the children, Robin and Sophie. He was spending much time away from his family touring. He subsequently attacked family lawyers as being adversarial. Eventually he gained equal custodial rights.
De Bernières is an avid musician. He plays the flute, mandolin, clarinet and guitar, though considers himself an “enthusiastic but badly-educated and erratic” amateur. His literary work often references music and composers he admires, such as the guitar works of Villa-Lobos and Antonio Lauro in the Latin American trilogy, and the mandolin works of Vivaldi and Hummel in Captain Corelli’s Mandolin.In 1993 de Bernières was selected as one of the "20 Best of Young British Novelists", part of a promotion in Granta magazine. Captain Corelli's Mandolin was published in the following year, winning the Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best Book. It was also shortlisted for the 1994 Sunday Express Book of the Year. It has been translated into over 11 languages and is an international bestseller.
On 16 July 2008 he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in the Arts by the De Montfort University in Leicester, which he had attended when it was Leicester Polytechnic.