One Day author David Nicholls says he’s ‘really furious’ over library closures: ‘Access to libraries changed my life’

Author behind Netflix’s hit 2024 series expresses his frustration at lack of free education in the UK

Roisin O'Connor
Sunday 21 April 2024 15:41 BST
One Day trailer

Best-selling author David Nicholls has hit out at the lack of accessible art available to the British public, as he condemned the ongoing closures of libraries around the country.

Nicholls, 57, is known to millions as the author of 2009 novel One Day, which was recently adapted into a critically acclaimed Netflix series, as well as his 2003 debut Starter for Ten.

Speaking to The Guardian, Nicholls spoke about his views on education in the UK, stating that he gets “very angry” about libraries closing and “the way the arts are not accessible”.

“I have personal experience of what an education can give you and I get angry when it comes under attack,” he said. “It changed my life – being paid to go to university and having access to public libraries and local theatres.”

Nicholls said he finds “the way that’s been taken away from people like me at that age to be enraging. Going to university specifically to study something that isn’t vocational was absolutely life-changing.”

The interview notes that he has established a bursary to support theatre students at the University of Bristol.

David Nicholls condemned the ongoing closure of public libraries around the UK
David Nicholls condemned the ongoing closure of public libraries around the UK (Getty Images for PSIFF)

Nicholls studied a BA in Drama and English at Bristol, and initially tried to make it as an actor under the stage name David Holdaway. In between acting gigs he worked in bars, coffee shops, and at a book shop in Notting Hill, the latter which he credited as inspiring his writing career “by osmosis”.

“I learnt a lot about writing, and read an endless amount of scripts and manuscripts,” he told The Independent in a 2020 interview. “But I didn’t have the confidence to show my work to anyone. It wasn’t until I was 28 or 29 that I dared show work to anyone, and that is a regret. I think probably I should have started earlier.”

The Netflix adaptation of Nicholls’ One Day received positive reviews, particularly in comparison to the film adaptation starring Anne Hathaway, and proved a hit for streaming service Netflix when it was released in February.

Ambika Mod and Leo Woodall in Netflix’s ‘One Day’
Ambika Mod and Leo Woodall in Netflix’s ‘One Day’ (Ludovic Robert/Netflix)

The 14-episode series followed characters Emma Morley (Ambika Mod) and Dexter Mayhew (Leo Woodall) who meet at Edinburgh University and eventually fall in love, with each episode taking place through the years on 15 July (St Swithin’s Day).

In The Independent’s three-star review of One Day, TV critic Nick Hilton wrote that the two main characters had chemistry, “but it doesn’t really fizz”.

“And, at the end of the day, even if there’s no gut punch, there’s still a poignancy to the sun setting on young love,” he wrote.

Nicholls’ latest novel, You Are Here, is out on 23 April.

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