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Mitchell’s first novel, Ghostwritten (1999), moves around the globe, from Okinawa to Mongolia to pre-Millennial New York City, as nine narrators tell stories that interlock and intersect. The novel won the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize (for best work of British literature written by an author under 35) and was shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award.[2] His two subsequent novels, number9dream (2001) and Cloud Atlas (2004), were both shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. In 2003, he was selected as one of Granta’s Best of Young British Novelists. In 2007, Mitchell was listed among Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in The World.

In 2012 his novel Cloud Atlas was made into a film. One segment of number9dream was made into a BAFTA nominated short film in 2011 starring Martin Freeman, titled The Voorman Problem. In recent years he has also written opera libretti. Wake, based on the 2000 Enschede fireworks disaster and with music by Klaas de Vries, was performed by the Dutch Nationale Reisopera in 2010. He has also finished another opera, Sunken Garden, with the Dutch composer Michel van der Aa, which premiered in 2013 by the English National Opera.

Several of Mitchell’s book covers were created by design duo Kai and Sunny. Mitchell has also collaborated with the duo, by contributing two short stories to their art exhibits in 2011 and 2014.

Mitchell’s sixth novel, The Bone Clocks, was published on 2 September 2014. In an interview in The Spectator, Mitchell said that the novel has “dollops of the fantastic in it”, and is about “stuff between life and death”. The Bone Clocks was longlisted for the 2014 Man Booker Prize.

Mitchell was the second author to contribute to the Future Library project and delivered his book ‘From Me Flows What You Call Time’ on May 28, 2016.

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