Henry Hitchings was born in 1974. He has written mainly about language and history, starting with Dr Johnson's Dictionary. The Secret Life of Words won the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize and a Somerset Maugham Award, as well as seeing him shortlisted for the title of Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year. The Language Wars completed what was in effect a trilogy of books about language. He is a prolific critic and has made several programmes for radio and television on subjects including Erasmus Darwin, the eighteenth-century English novel and the history of manners. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.