Mrs. Henry Wood, nee Ellen Price, (born Jan. 17, 1814, Worcester, Worcestershire, Eng.--died Feb. 10, 1887, London), English novelist who wrote the sensational and extremely popular East Lynne (1861), a melodramatic and moralizing tale of the fall of virtue. Translated into many languages, it was dramatized with great success, and its plot has been frequently imitated in popular fiction.Other highly successful works followed, and in some of them (notably the novel The Channings  and her Johnny Ludlow tales [1868-91]) Wood showed great ability in storytelling and in creating natural..
John Cowper Powys, (born October 8, 1872, Shirley, Derbyshire, England--died June 17, 1963, Blaenau Ffestiniog, Merioneth, Wales), Welsh novelist, essayist, and poet, known chiefly for his long panoramic novels, including Wolf Solent (1929), A Glastonbury Romance (1932), and Owen Glendower (1940). He was the brother of the authors T.F. Powys and Llewelyn Powys.Educated at Sherborne School and the University of Cambridge, Powys was a university extension lecturer for about 40 years, 30 of them in the United States. His works include a striking Autobiography (1934) and books of essays,..
John Braine, in full John Gerard Braine, (born April 13, 1922, Bradford, Yorkshire, England--died October 28, 1987, London), British novelist, one of the so-called Angry Young Men, whose Room at the Top (1957; film 1959) typifies the concerns of a generation of post-World War II British writers.Braine attended St. Bede's Grammar School in Bradford and the Leeds School of Librarianship and was working as a librarian in the West Riding of Yorkshire when Room at the Top appeared. Its protagonist, a young working-class man, traps himself into an unhappy marriage with the daughter of a wealthy businessman...
Algernon Henry Blackwood, (born March 14, 1869, Shooters Hill, Kent, Eng.--died Dec. 10, 1951, London), British writer of tales of mystery and the supernatural.After farming in Canada, operating a hotel, mining in the Alaskan goldfields, and working as a newspaper reporter in New York City, experiences that he recalled in Episodes Before Thirty (1923), Blackwood returned to England in 1899. Seven years later he published his first book of short stories, The Empty House (1906), and became a full-time fiction writer. Later collections include John Silence (1908), stories about a detective..
E. Phillips Oppenheim, in full Edward Phillips Oppenheim, (born Oct. 22, 1866, London, Eng.--died Feb. 3, 1946, St. Peter Port, Guernsey, Channel Islands, U.K.), internationally popular British author of novels and short stories dealing with international espionage and intrigue.After leaving school at age 17 to help in his father's leather business, Oppenheim wrote in his spare time. His first novel, Expiation (1886), and subsequent thrillers caught the fancy of a wealthy New York businessman who bought out the leather business at the turn of the century and made Oppenheim a high-salaried..
Grace Aguilar, (born June 2, 1816, London, Eng.--died Sept. 16, 1847, Frankfurt am Main [Germany]), poet, novelist, and writer on Jewish history and religion, best known for her numerous sentimental novels of domestic life, especially for Home Influence (1847) and The Mother's Recompense (1851).Aguilar was the daughter of Sephardic Jews. She was tutored in the classics at home and (even in adulthood) was not permitted to move outside of her family circle. Before becoming known as a novelist, she gained a considerable reputation as an educator about Jewish culture for an English-speaking..
Louis Golding, (born Nov. 19, 1895, Manchester, Eng.--died Aug. 9, 1958, London), English novelist and essayist, an interpreter of British Jewish life.The son of poor Jewish parents who had emigrated to Britain from Russia, Golding attended Manchester Grammar School and Queen's College, Oxford. He began to write while at the university, publishing his first novel, Forward from Babylon, in 1920. In World War I he fought in the Salonika campaign and after leaving Oxford traveled widely in the Mediterranean and the Middle East.Golding produced at least a book a year. The best known was Magnolia..
Gavin Maxwell, (born July 15, 1914, Elrig, near Mochrum, Wigtown, Scot.--died Sept. 6, 1969, Inverness, Inverness), Scottish author and naturalist.Maxwell was educated at Stowe School and the University of Oxford, then became a freelance journalist, though ornithology remained his special interest. He served with the Scots Guard in World War II. In 1945 he bought the island of Soay and described in Harpoon at a Venture (1952; also published as Harpoon Venture) his attempt to establish a shark fishery there. The best-selling Ring of Bright Water (1960) describes his life with two pet otters..
Richard Doddridge Blackmore, (born June 7, 1825, Longworth, Berkshire, England--died January 20, 1900, Teddington, Middlesex), English Victorian novelist whose novel Lorna Doone (1869) won a secure place among English historical romances.Educated at Blundell's School, Tiverton, and at Exeter College, Oxford, Blackmore was called to the bar but withdrew because of ill health. He married in 1852 and was a schoolteacher from 1855 to 1857. Then, upon receiving a legacy, he bought a property at Teddington and settled down to fruit growing. After publishing some poems, Blackmore produced..
Francis Turner Palgrave, (born Sept. 28, 1824, Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, Eng.--died Oct. 24, 1897, London), English critic and poet, editor of the influential anthology The Golden Treasury.Son of the historian Sir Francis Palgrave (1788-1861), Palgrave was educated at Charterhouse and at Balliol College, Oxford, where he was part of the circle of Matthew Arnold and Arthur Hugh Clough. He spent many years in the education department of the civil service and from 1885 to 1895 was professor of poetry at the University of Oxford. He was also for many years the art critic of the Saturday Review. He..
Sir Edwin Arnold, (born June 10, 1832, Gravesend, Kent, Eng.--died March 24, 1904, London), poet and journalist, best known as the author of The Light of Asia (1879), an epic poem in an elaborately Tennysonian blank verse that describes, through the mouth of an "imaginary Buddhist votary," the life and teachings of the Buddha. Pearls of the Faith (1883), on Islam, and The Light of the World (1891), on Christianity, were less successful.After leaving the University of Oxford, Arnold was a schoolteacher in Birmingham before becoming principal of the British government college at Poona (Pune),..
A.E. Coppard, in full Alfred Edgar Coppard, (born January 4, 1878, Folkestone, Kent, England--died January 13, 1957, London), writer who achieved fame with his short stories depicting the English rural scene and its characters.Born in humble circumstances, his father being a journeyman tailor and his mother a hostler's daughter, Coppard left school at the age of nine and worked first as an errand boy in Whitechapel, London, and later as a clerk in Brighton and Oxford. His love for literature, painting, and music led him to abandon his office career; he settled in a cottage in the country, and..
Elizabeth Carter, (born Dec. 16, 1717, Deal, Kent, Eng.--died Feb. 19, 1806, London), English poet, translator, and member of a famous group of literary "bluestockings" who gathered around Mrs. Elizabeth Montagu.Carter was the daughter of a learned cleric who taught her Latin, Greek, and Hebrew. She was not a precocious child, but she persevered with an industry that affected her health, studying also French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Arabic, astronomy, ancient geography, ancient and modern history, and music, as well as the housewifery that caused Dr. Samuel Johnson to say "My old..
Mary Ann Lamb, (born December 3, 1764, London, England--died May 20, 1847, London), English writer, known for Tales from Shakespear, written with her brother Charles.Born into a poor family, Mary Lamb received little formal education. From an early age she helped support the family by doing needlework. Her mother was an invalid, and for many years she was entirely dependent on Mary's care. On September 22, 1796, in a fit of madness, Mary stabbed and killed her mother. It is believed that there was a hereditary strain of mental illness in the family and that Mary's illness was precipitated by overwork...
Sir Walter Besant, (born August 14, 1836, Portsmouth, Hampshire, England--died June 9, 1901, London), English novelist and philanthropist, whose best work describing social evils in London's East End helped set in motion movements to aid the poor.From 1861 to 1867 Besant taught at the Royal College, Mauritius, and in 1868 he became secretary to the Palestine Exploration Fund. In 1871 he began a literary collaboration with James Rice, editor of Once a Week, which lasted until Rice's death (1882). During that time they produced 14 romantic, improbable, and verbose novels.In 1882 Besant published..
William Harrison Ainsworth, (born February 4, 1805, Manchester, Lancashire, England--died January 3, 1882, Reigate, Surrey), English author of popular historical romances.Ainsworth initially studied law but left it for literature, publishing his first novel anonymously in 1826. His first success came with the novel Rookwood (1834), featuring the highwayman Dick Turpin, which led many reviewers to hail him as the successor to Sir Walter Scott. Jack Sheppard (1839), the story of an 18th-century burglar, was equally successful, but it helped to stir up fierce reaction against the "Newgate"..
Charles James Lever, (born Aug. 31, 1806, Dublin, Ire.--died June 1, 1872, Trieste, Austria-Hungary [now in Italy]), Irish editor and writer whose novels, set in post-Napoleonic Ireland and Europe, featured lively, picaresque heroes.In 1831, after study at Trinity College, Cambridge, he qualified for the practice of medicine. His gambling and extravagance, however, left him short of money despite his income and his inheritance, and he began to utilize his gifts as a raconteur. In 1837 The Confessions of Harry Lorrequer appeared serially in the Dublin University Magazine, where it was..
William Combe, (born 1741, Bristol, Gloucestershire, England--died June 19, 1823, London), prolific English writer of miscellaneous prose and satirical verse who is best remembered for the popular Dr. Syntax series of books, published between 1812 and 1821, for which he supplied text and Thomas Rowlandson provided drawings.Combe was educated at Eton College. He was left a legacy by a wealthy London merchant, William Alexander, and used it to travel widely and to live in a princely manner. He fell heavily into debt and, after a varied career as private soldier, waiter, teacher, and cook, returned..
Sir H. Rider Haggard, in full Sir Henry Rider Haggard, (born June 22, 1856, Bradenham, Norfolk, Eng.--died May 14, 1925, London), English novelist best known for his romantic adventure King Solomon's Mines (1885).The son of a barrister, Haggard was educated at Ipswich grammar school and by private tutors. In 1875, at age 19, he went to southern Africa as secretary to the governor of Natal, Sir Henry Bulwer. Then he served on Sir Theophilus Shepstone's staff and himself hoisted the flag at the brief first annexation of the Transvaal (1877-81). He then became master of the high court there. In 1879..
A.J. Cronin, in full Archibald Joseph Cronin, (born July 19, 1896, Cardross, Dumbartonshire, Scot.--died Jan. 6, 1981, Montreux, Switz.), Scottish novelist and physician whose works combining realism with social criticism won a large Anglo-American readership.Cronin was educated at the University of Glasgow and served as a surgeon in the Royal Navy during World War I. He practiced in South Wales (1921-24) and then, as medical inspector of mines, investigated occupational diseases in the coal industry. He opened medical practice in London in 1926 but quit because of ill health, using his..
P.G. Wodehouse, in full Sir Pelham Grenville Wodehouse, (born October 15, 1881, Guildford, Surrey, England--died February 14, 1975, Southampton, New York, U.S.), English-born comic novelist, short-story writer, lyricist, and playwright, best known as the creator of Jeeves, the supreme "gentleman's gentleman." He wrote more than 90 books and more than 20 film scripts and collaborated on more than 30 plays and musical comedies.Wodehouse was educated at Dulwich College, London, and, after a period in a bank, took a job as a humorous columnist on the London Globe (1902) and wrote freelance..
Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, nee Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin, (born Aug. 30, 1797, London, Eng.--died Feb. 1, 1851, London), English Romantic novelist best known as the author of Frankenstein.The only daughter of William Godwin and Mary Wollstonecraft, she met the young poet Percy Bysshe Shelley in 1812 and eloped with him to France in July 1814. The couple were married in 1816, after Shelley's first wife had committed suicide. After her husband's death in 1822, she returned to England and devoted herself to publicizing Shelley's writings and to educating their only surviving child, Percy..
Elizabeth Jane Howard, (born March 26, 1923, London, England--died January 2, 2014, Bungay, Suffolk), British writer of novels and shorter fiction who was praised for her deft characterizations of alienated people and her sensitivity to the nuances of family relationships.Howard worked as an actress in repertory theatre in Devon, England, and at Stratford-upon-Avon, and during World War II she was a broadcaster for the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). After the war she worked as an editor.Howard's writing was acclaimed for its technique as well as for its evocative, tightly drawn..
Joan Aiken, in full Joan Delano Aiken, (born September 4, 1924, Rye, Sussex, England--died January 4, 2004, Petworth, West Sussex), prolific British author of fantasy, adventure, horror, and suspense tales for both juvenile and adult readers. Perhaps best-known as the inventor of a genre called the "unhistorical romance," Aiken wrote tales that combine humour and action with traditional mythic and fairy tale elements. Many of these works are set in an invented historical era during the imagined reign of James III of England, who was known as the Old Pretender.Aiken was the daughter of the..
A.A. Milne, in full Alan Alexander Milne, (born January 18, 1882, London, England--died January 31, 1956, Hartfield, Sussex), English humorist, the originator of the immensely popular stories of Christopher Robin and his toy bear, Winnie-the-Pooh.Milne's father ran a private school, where one of the boy's teachers was a young H.G. Wells. Milne went on to attend Westminster School, London, and Trinity College, Cambridge, the latter on a mathematics scholarship. While at Cambridge, he edited and wrote for Granta magazine (then called The Granta, for Cambridge's other river). He took a degree..
Eric Ambler, (born June 28, 1909, London, England--died October 22, 1998, London), British author and screenwriter widely regarded as one of the most distinguished writers of espionage and crime stories.Ambler was the son of music-hall entertainers. After studying engineering at London University, he worked as an advertising writer. It was while thus employed that he completed his first novel, The Dark Frontier (1936), which exhibits the gritty realism that came to characterize his work. This and his other early novels, set in continental Europe, were permeated with the emotional atmosphere..
J.G. Ballard, in full James Graham Ballard, (born November 15, 1930, Shanghai, China--died April 19, 2009, London, England), British author of science fiction set in ecologically unbalanced landscapes caused by decadent technological excess.The son of a British business executive based in China, Ballard spent four years of his boyhood in a Japanese prison camp near Shanghai during World War II. This experience is recounted in his largely autobiographical novel Empire of the Sun (1984; film 1987). The devastated city and nearby countryside also provided settings for several of his apocalyptic..
G.K. Chesterton, in full Gilbert Keith Chesterton, (born May 29, 1874, London, England--died June 14, 1936, Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire), English critic and author of verse, essays, novels, and short stories, known also for his exuberant personality and rotund figure.Chesterton was educated at St. Paul's School and later studied art at the Slade School and literature at University College, London. His writings to 1910 were of three kinds. First, his social criticism, largely in his voluminous journalism, was gathered in The Defendant (1901), Twelve Types (1902), and Heretics (1905)...
E.L. James, byname of Erika Leonard, nee Mitchell, (born c. 1963, London, England), British author best known for the Fifty Shades series of erotic novels.James was the daughter of a Chilean mother and a Scottish father. She studied history at the University of Kent before taking a job as a studio manager's assistant at the National Film and Television School in Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire. While there, she met aspiring screenwriter Niall Leonard, and the two were married in 1987. James subsequently worked as a manager at the television production company Shooting Stars and as a production..
J.K. Rowling, in full Joanne Kathleen Rowling, (born July 31, 1965, Yate, near Bristol, England), British author, creator of the popular and critically acclaimed Harry Potter series, about a young sorcerer in training.After graduating from the University of Exeter in 1986, Rowling began working for Amnesty International in London, where she started to write the Harry Potter adventures. In the early 1990s she traveled to Portugal to teach English as a foreign language, but, after a brief marriage and the birth of her daughter, she returned to the United Kingdom, settling in Edinburgh. Living..
P.L. Travers, in full Pamela Lyndon Travers, original name Helen Lyndon Goff, (born August 9, 1899, Maryborough, Queensland, Australia--died April 23, 1996, London, England), Australian English writer known for her Mary Poppins books, about a magical nanny. The books insightfully explored the fraught relationship between children and adults through a combination of mythological allusion and biting social critique.Goff was known to have embroidered upon her life at various points, which complicates any retelling of it. She romanticized her jocular and charismatic father as the Irish-born..
H.G. Wells, in full Herbert George Wells, (born September 21, 1866, Bromley, Kent, England--died August 13, 1946, London), English novelist, journalist, sociologist, and historian best known for such science fiction novels as The Time Machine and The War of the Worlds and such comic novels as Tono-Bungay and The History of Mr. Polly.Early lifeWells was the son of domestic servants turned small shopkeepers. He grew up under the continual threat of poverty, and at age 14, after a very inadequate education supplemented by his inexhaustible love of reading, he was apprenticed to a draper in Windsor...
Oliver Onions, in full George Oliver Onions, (born 1873, Bradford, Yorkshire, Eng.--died April 9, 1961, Aberystwyth, Wales), novelist and short-story writer whose first work to attract attention was The Story of Louie (1913), the last part of a trilogy later published as Whom God Has Sundered, in which he achieved a successful combination of poetry and realism. Of his other novels, the greatest success was perhaps The Story of Ragged Robyn (1945), a tale of 17th-century England. His Poor Man's Tapestry (1946) earned him the James Tait Black Memorial Prize. Onions was married to the Welsh-born..
Mary de la Riviere Manley, (born April 7, 1663, Jersey, Channel Islands--died July 11, 1724, London), British writer who achieved notoriety through presenting political scandal in the form of romance. Her Secret Memoirs . . . of Several Persons of Quality (1709) was a chronicle seeking to expose the private vices of Whig ministers. After its publication she was arrested for libel but escaped punishment.Her cousin John Manley married her bigamously in about 1688. In 1711 she succeeded Jonathan Swift as editor of The Examiner and in 1714 wrote her "fictitious autobiography," The Adventures..
Nicolas Freeling, (Nicolas Davidson), British novelist and detective-story writer (born March 3, 1927, London, Eng.--died July 20, 2003, Grandfontaine, France), penned 36 works of fiction and several of nonfiction. While living in Amsterdam, he developed his first and best-known protagonist, Piet Van der Valk, a Dutch policeman. A dozen books later, after Freeling had moved to France, he killed off Van der Valk and created the French sleuth Henri Castang. Freeling's awards included France's Grand Prix du Roman Policier (1964) and the Edgar Allan Poe Award from the Mystery Writers of America..
Llewelyn Powys, (born Aug. 13, 1884, Dorchester, Dorset, Eng.--died Dec. 2, 1939, Davos, Switz.), British author known for his books of essays, travel books, and memoirs.Powys was the eighth of 11 children of a country clergyman. Unlike his brothers T.F. Powys and John Cowper Powys, both also authors, Llewelyn preferred writing nonfiction, and he published only one novel, Apples Be Ripe (1930). His finest works were Black Laughter (1924), a collection of essays reflecting his experiences in Kenya from 1914 to 1919; Skin for Skin (1925), a philosophical narrative of his confrontation with..
Caradoc Evans, original name David Evans, (born December 31, 1878, Llanfihangel ar Arth, Carmarthenshire, Wales--died January 11, 1945, Aberystwyth, Cardiganshire [now in Ceredigion]), Anglo-Welsh author whose bitter criticism of the Welsh religious and educational systems and the miserliness and narrowness of the Welsh people provoked a strong reaction within Wales.Largely self-educated, Evans learned literary English from the King James Bible. He left Wales to go to England in the late 1880s as a draper's assistant; later he turned to journalism and editorial work. His early volumes..
Charlotte M. Yonge, in full Charlotte Mary Yonge, (born August 11, 1823, Otterbourne, Hampshire, England--died March 24, 1901, Otterbourne), English novelist who dedicated her talents as a writer to the service of the church. Her books helped to spread the influence of the Oxford Movement, which sought to bring about a return of the Church of England to the High Church ideals of the late 17th century.Her first success came with The Heir of Redclyffe (1853), whose hero made goodness attractive and romantic. Her other novels include Heartsease (1854); The Daisy Chain (1856), which depicts the..
George Darley, (born 1795, Dublin, Ire.--died Nov. 23, 1846, London, Eng.), poet and critic little esteemed by his contemporaries but praised by 20th-century writers for his intense evocation, in his unfinished lyrical epic Nepenthe (1835), of a symbolic dreamworld. Long regarded as unreadable, this epic came to be admired in the 20th century for its dream imagery, use of symbolism to reveal inner consciousness, and tumultuous metrical organization.Darley became a free-lance writer in London in 1821. A perceptive critic, he wrote for the literary London Magazine and other journals, meanwhile..
Randolph Churchill, in full Randolph Frederick Edward Spencer Churchill, (born May 28, 1911, London, England--died June 6, 1968, East Bergholt, Suffolk), English author, journalist, and politician, the only son of British prime minister Winston Churchill.Churchill was a popular journalist in the 1930s and thrice failed to enter Parliament before becoming Conservative member for Preston (1940-45). During World War II he served as an intelligence officer in the Middle East and Yugoslavia. He was unsuccessful in parliamentary elections in 1945, 1950, and 1951.His books on controversial..
Philippa Pearce, British book editor and children's writer (born Jan. 23, 1920, Great Shelford, near Cambridge, Eng.--died Dec. 21, 2006, London, Eng.), was best known for her Carnegie Medal-winning novel Tom's Midnight Garden (1958), a mystical tale of friendship and growing up in which 10-year-old Tom befriends Hatty, a girl from the past whom he meets in a magical garden that appears at night only when the grandfather clock strikes 13. The classic story was filmed in 1999 and was later adapted for the stage. Pearce's other books included the semiautobiographical Minnow on the Say (1955),..
John Edmond Gardner, British writer (born Nov. 20, 1926, Seaton Delaval, Northumberland, Eng.--died Aug. 3, 2007, Basingstoke, Hampshire, Eng.), was the author of more than 50 thrillers but was best known for his 16 books that continued Ian Fleming's James Bond series. Gardner's first published book, Spin the Bottle (1963), was a memoir. The following year he published his first novel, a spy parody, The Liquidator (filmed 1965). It was followed by several sequels. After a prolonged search by Fleming's literary estate, Gardner was chosen in 1981 to update Fleming's literary creation. Gardner's..
Nicholas Amhurst, (born Oct. 16, 1697, Marden, Kent, Eng.--died April 12, 1742, Twickenham, Middlesex), satirical poet, political pamphleteer on behalf of the Whigs, and editor of The Craftsman, a political journal of unprecedented popularity that was hostile to the Whig government of Sir Robert Walpole.Expelled from the University of Oxford in 1719 (probably because of his outspoken views and his satirizing the university in verse), Amhurst settled in London and began a series of satirical papers, Terrae Filius ("Son of the Land"). The Craftsman, founded in 1726, published articles..
Alexander Harris, (born Feb. 7, 1805, London--died Feb. 1, 1874, Copetown, Ont., Can.), English author whose Settlers and Convicts; or, Recollections of Sixteen Years' Labour in the Australian Backwoods (1847) is an outstanding fictional account of life in Australia.Harris was well educated by his clergyman father in London, and at age 21 he shipped out for Australia. He soon headed for the back country and for some time lived a very strenuous life, working up to 18 hours a day at various jobs. By 1842 his health began to deteriorate, and he returned to England. In later years he worked as a missionary..
Penelope Mortimer, in full Penelope Ruth Mortimer, nee Penelope Fletcher, (born Sept. 19, 1918, Rhyl, Flintshire, Wales--died Oct. 19, 1999, London, Eng.), British journalist and novelist whose writing, depicting a nightmarish world of neuroses and broken marriages, influenced feminist fiction of the 1960s.After her graduation from the University of London, she began to write poetry, book reviews, and short stories. She was married to the journalist Charles Dimont; in 1949 they divorced and she married the playwright and author John Mortimer (divorced 1972), with whom she collaborated..
Edward Thomas, in full Philip Edward Thomas, (born March 3, 1878, Lambeth, London, Eng.--died April 9, 1917, Arras, France), English writer who turned to poetry only after a long career spent producing nature studies and critical works on such 19th-century writers as Richard Jefferies, George Borrow, Algernon Charles Swinburne, and Walter Pater.Thomas was educated at St. Paul's School and the University of Oxford and spent most of his life unhappily employed as an essayist and journalist. In 1913 he met the American poet Robert Frost, who encouraged him to write poetry. Two years later Thomas..
Tom Brown, byname of Thomas Brown, (born 1663, Shifnal, Shropshire, Eng.--died June 16, 1704, London), British satirist best known for his reputedly extemporaneous translation of Martial's 33rd epigram beginning "Non amo te, Sabidi . . . ." Brown entered Christ Church, Oxford, in 1678, but the irregularity of his life there brought him before Dr. John Fell, dean of Christ Church, who agreed to stay Brown's expulsion if he could translate the epigram on the spot. Brown's reply was:I do not love thee, Dr. Fell,The reason why I cannot tell;But this I know, and know full well,I do not love thee, Dr...
Sara Coleridge, (born Dec. 22, 1802, Keswick, Cumberland, Eng.--died May 3, 1852, London), English translator and author of children's verse, known primarily as the editor of the works of her father, Samuel Taylor Coleridge.During her childhood, her father was seldom at home, and his brother-in-law Robert Southey chiefly influenced Sara's early years. She did not see her father from 1812 to 1822, when she visited him at Highgate with her mother. Thereafter his influence was strikingly manifest.In 1829 she married her cousin, Henry Nelson Coleridge. For her children she wrote Pretty Lessons..
Nigel Balchin, in full Nigel Marlin Balchin, (born December 3, 1908, Wiltshire, England--died May 17, 1970, London), English novelist who achieved great popularity with novels of men at work.After studying natural science at the University of Cambridge, Balchin divided his time between research work in science and industry (as an industrial psychologist) and writing. During World War II he was deputy scientific adviser to the Army Council.In The Small Back Room (1943), his best-known novel, Balchin describes the conversation, behaviour, and intrigues for position and power of the "backroom..
Dame Rose Macaulay, (born Aug. 1, 1881, Rugby, Warwickshire, Eng.--died Oct. 30, 1958, London), author of novels and travel books characterized by intelligence, wit, and lively scholarship.Daughter of a university instructor, she grew up in an intellectually stimulating and liberal-minded home environment. She first attracted attention as a social satirist with a series of novels, Potterism (1920), Dangerous Ages (1921), Told by an Idiot (1923), Orphan Island (1924), Crewe Train (1926), and Keeping Up Appearances (1928). After 1930 she wrote fewer novels, though the fiction she did..
Ralph Hammond Innes, pseudonyms Ralph Hammond or Hammond Innes, (born July 15, 1913, Horsham, Sussex, Eng.--died June 10, 1998, Kersey, Suffolk), English novelist and traveler known for adventure stories in which suspense and foreign locations are prominent features.Hammond Innes began his career in teaching and publishing. He worked for the newspaper Financial News from 1934 to 1940 and served in the British Royal Artillery from 1940 to 1946. He traveled widely and had a lifelong love of yachting, and in 1978 he was made a Commander of the British Empire.His books often pit characters against..
John Cleland, (born 1709--died Jan. 23, 1789, London), English novelist, author of the notorious Fanny Hill; or, Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure.After serving as a consul at Smyrna and later as an agent of the British East India Company in Bombay, Cleland became a penniless wanderer who drifted from place to place and was apparently confined several times in English debtors' prisons. In such reduced circumstances, he wrote Fanny Hill (1748-49) for a fee of 20 guineas. An elegant, flowery work of pornography describing the activities of a London prostitute, this novel has enjoyed enormous popularity..
E.R. Eddison, in full Eric Rucker Eddison, (born Nov. 24, 1882, St. Helen's, Adel, Yorkshire, Eng.--died Aug. 18, 1945), English novelist and scholar of Icelandic literature whose works in the genre of romantic fantasy influenced the English fantasist J.R.R. Tolkien.Eddison attended Eton College and then Trinity College, Oxford (B.A., 1905). From 1906 he worked for the Board of Trade, rising to become comptroller-general in the Department of Overseas Trade (1930-37).In Eddison's most famous work, The Worm Ouroboros (1922), a tale of magic and wizardry, the hero travels to a planet named..
Reginald Charles Hill, British novelist (born April 3, 1936, West Hartlepool, Durham, Eng.--died Jan. 12, 2012, near Ravenglass, Cumbria, Eng.), created the Yorkshire crime-fighting police team of Superintendent Andrew Dalziel and Sergeant (later Detective Inspector) Peter Pascoe in two dozen detective novels over a 40-year span--from their introduction in A Clubbable Woman (1970) through Midnight Fugue (2009). The mismatched duo were featured on BBC television's Dalziel and Pascoe for 12 seasons (1996-2007) and more than 60 episodes, with actor Warren Clarke as the overweight and..
Paul Bailey, original name Peter Harry Bailey, (born Feb. 16, 1937, London, Eng.), English author of brief, intense novels.After attending Central School of Speech and Drama (1953-56), Bailey worked as a stage and television actor and department store salesman before beginning a writing career. He made an immediate impact with his first novel, At the Jerusalem (1967), about a lonely elderly woman's attempt to survive in a retirement home. A second broken protagonist, blamed by his wife for her suicide, is committed to a mental institution in Trespasses (1970). Bailey sustained the themes..
Bryher, byname of Annie Winifred Ellerman, (born Sept. 2, 1894, Margate, Kent, Eng.--died Jan. 28, 1983, Vevey, Switz.), British novelist, poet, and critic, best known for her historical fiction. She was also a cofounder and coeditor of Close-Up, an authoritative journal on silent motion pictures.Bryher, the daughter of British shipping magnate Sir John Ellerman, traveled extensively throughout Europe, the Middle East, and the Mediterranean with her parents. She took the name Bryher (from her favourite of the Isles of Scilly) when she began to write because she did not want the eminent..
James Rice, (born Sept. 26, 1843, Northampton, Eng.--died April 26, 1882, Redhill), English novelist best known for his literary partnership with Sir Walter Besant.Rice was educated at Queens' College, Cambridge, where he graduated in law in 1867. In 1868 Rice bought Once a Week, which proved a losing venture for him but brought him into touch with Besant, who was a contributor. There ensued a close friendship and literary partnership that lasted until Rice's death 10 years later and resulted in a large number of successful novels. To the first, the anonymously published Ready-money Mortiboy..
Nicholas Monsarrat, in full Nicholas John Turney Monsarrat, (born March 22, 1910, Liverpool, Eng.--died Aug. 8, 1979, London), popular English novelist whose best-known work, The Cruel Sea, vividly captured life aboard a small ship in wartime.Monsarrat took a bachelor's degree in law at Trinity College, Cambridge, and then spent two years in a solicitor's office. His first book, Think of Tomorrow, appeared in 1934, but he had not fully established his reputation when World War II broke out. From 1940 to 1946 he served with the Royal Navy, chiefly on the dangerous Atlantic convoy runs. He afterward..
Sheila Kaye-Smith, in full Emily Sheila Kaye-Smith, (born Feb. 4, 1887, St. Leonard's-on-Sea, Sussex, Eng.--died Jan. 14, 1956, Northiam, near Rye, Sussex), British novelist, best known for her many novels depicting life in her native rural Sussex.The daughter of a country doctor, Kaye-Smith began writing as a youth, publishing her first novel, The Tramping Methodist (1908), at age 21. Other novels and a book of verse were followed by Sussex Gorse: The Story of a Fight (1916), her first critical success and perhaps her finest novel. It concerns a ruthlessly ambitious farmer and landowner..
Geoffrey Household, in full Geoffrey Edward West Household, (born November 30, 1900, Bristol, Gloucestershire, England--died October 4, 1988, Banbury, Oxfordshire), British novelist best known for Rogue Male (1939; also published as Man Hunt), a psychological thriller about an aristocratic big-game hunter who tracks down an Adolf Hitler-like dictator.Household was educated at Clifton College in Bristol (1914-19) and at Magdalen College at Oxford (1919-22), where he won honours in English literature. After working in Romania (1922-26), Spain (1926-29), and New York City (1929),..
C.S. Forester, in full Cecil Scott Forester, (born August 27, 1899, Cairo, Egypt--died April 2, 1966, Fullerton, California, U.S.), British historical novelist and journalist best known as the creator of the British naval officer Horatio Hornblower, whose rise from midshipman to admiral and peer during the Napoleonic Wars is told in a series of 12 novels, beginning with The Happy Return (1937; U.S. title Beat to Quarters).Abandoning medicine for writing, Forester achieved success with his first novel, Payment Deferred (1926); others included Brown on Resolution (1929), The Gun (1933),..
Henry Livings, (born Sept. 20, 1929, Prestwich, Lancashire, Eng.--died Feb. 20, 1998, Delph?), British working-class playwright whose farces convey serious truths. His plays, which resemble parables, exhibit both a dazzling comic flair and an unexpected force and profundity that is heightened by his use of colloquial language.After attending the University of Liverpool, Livings was trained as an actor at Joan Littlewood's Theatre Workshop, an experience that was to have a lasting impression on his work. His first stage play, Stop It, Whoever You Are, about a washroom attendant, was performed..
Anna Kavan, original name Helen Woods, married surnames Ferguson and Edmonds, (born 1904, Cannes, Alpes-Maritimes, France--died Dec. 5, 1968, London, Eng.), British novelist and short-story writer known for her semiautobiographical surreal fiction dealing with the themes of mental breakdown and self-destruction.She was born into a wealthy family and traveled widely as a child. Under the name Helen Ferguson she wrote six novels, most notably Let Me Alone (1930), a portrait of a troubled woman in a violent marriage. Ferguson legally changed her name to Anna Kavan, the name she had given..
J.I.M. Stewart, in full John Innes Mackintosh Stewart, pseudonym Michael Innes, (born Sept. 30, 1906, Edinburgh, Scot.--died Nov. 12, 1994, Coulsdon, Surrey, Eng.), British novelist, literary critic, and educator who created the character of Inspector John Appleby, a British detective known for his suave humour and literary finesse.Stewart was educated at Oriel College, Oxford, and lectured in English at the University of Leeds from 1930 to 1935. While making a sea voyage from England to serve as professor of English at the University of Adelaide (1935-45), Stewart began to write a detective..
Ronald Duncan, in full Ronald Frederick Henry Duncan, (born Aug. 6, 1914, Salisbury, Rhodesia [now Harare, Zimb.]--died June 3, 1982, Barnstaple, Devon, Eng.), British playwright, poet, and man of letters whose verse plays express the contrast between traditional religious faith and the materialism and skepticism of modern times.From an early interest in socialism, Duncan moved to the expression of Christian and Buddhist convictions in his literary work. He is best known for a number of plays that express in intense, poetic language his sense of the decline of moral values and the growth..
E.C. Bentley, in full Edmund Clerihew Bentley, (born July 10, 1875, London, England--died March 30, 1956, London), British journalist and man of letters who is remembered as the inventor of the clerihew and for his other light verse and as the author of Trent's Last Case (1913), a classic detective story that remains a best seller.After attending St. Paul's School in London (where he met G.K. Chesterton, who became his closest friend) and the University of Oxford, Bentley lived in London and studied law. He soon abandoned the law, however, for journalism, which he practiced for most of his life.The..
Arthur Morrison, (born Nov. 1, 1863, London, Eng.--died Dec. 4, 1945, Chalfont St. Peter, Buckinghamshire), English writer noted for realist novels and short stories describing slum life in London's East End at the end of the Victorian era.Morrison, himself born in the East End, began his writing career in 1889 as subeditor of the journal of the People's Palace, an institution designed to bring culture into the London slums. In 1890 he became a freelance journalist and in 1892 a regular contributor to William Ernest Henley's National Observer, in which most of the stories in Morrison's first..
Robin Maugham, byname of Robert Cecil Romer Maugham, 2nd Viscount Maugham of Hartfield, (born May 17, 1916, London, Eng.--died March 13, 1981, Brighton), English novelist, playwright, and travel writer, who achieved some fame and no little notoriety with his first novel, The Servant (1948).The only son of the 1st Viscount, Lord Chancellor Herbert Romer Maugham (whom he succeeded in 1958), Robin Maugham was educated at Eton and Trinity College, Cambridge. He served as an intelligence officer in World War II but was severely wounded in 1944 and retired from active service. Two nonfiction books..
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Edward Falaise Upward, British writer (born Sept. 9, 1903, Romford, Essex, Eng.--died Feb. 13, 2009, Pontefract, West Yorkshire, Eng.), was the last surviving member of a close circle of literary friends who helped shape English literature in the 1930s; several associates--notably novelist Christopher Isherwood and poets W.H. Auden and Stephen Spender--credited Upward as a key influence on their own development. Upward was educated at Repton College, where he met Isherwood, and Corpus Christi, Cambridge (B.A., 1924; M.A., 1925). While attending Cambridge together, Upward and Isherwood..
Barry Forster Unsworth, British novelist (born Aug. 10, 1930, Wingate, Durham, Eng.--died June 5, 2012, Perugia, Italy), explored morality and greed in his historical fiction and re-created past worlds through vivid prose and meticulous research. He was the corecipient (with Michael Ondaatje) of the Booker Prize in 1992 for his 10th novel, Sacred Hunger, which follows the journey of an 18th-century slave ship across the Atlantic Ocean. Pascali's Island (1980; film 1988), Unsworth's first historical novel, and Morality Play (1995; filmed as The Reckoning, 2003) were also short-listed..
Elizabeth Mavor, in full Elizabeth Osborne Mavor, (born December 17, 1927, Glasgow, Scotland--died May 22, 2013), British author whose novels and nonfiction works concern relationships between women.Mavor attended St. Anne's College, Oxford (B.A., 1950), where she worked on two popular Oxford magazines. After graduating, she worked for the magazine Argosy for several years and wrote fiction. Her first novel, Summer in the Greenhouse (1959), considered by some to be her finest, presents a woman's lyrical evocation of a youthful affair. At the end of The Temple of Flora (1961), the heroine..
Eleanor Alice Hibbert, (VICTORIA HOLT; JEAN PLAIDY), British novelist (born 1906/1910?, London, England--died Jan. 18, 1993, at sea between Athens, Greece, and Port Said, Egypt), published more than 200 popular romance novels under half a dozen pseudonyms. Although some critics dismissed her work as escapist trash, others recognized the deft storytelling, well-researched historic detail, and strong female characters that brought Hibbert fame, fortune, and millions of devoted readers in some 20 languages. Hibbert, who kept her birth date and most of her personal life a closely guarded..
Sylvia Townsend Warner, (born Dec. 6, 1893, Harrow, Middlesex, Eng.--died May 1, 1978, Maiden Newton, Dorset), English writer who began her self-proclaimed "accidental career" as a poet after she was given paper with a "particularly tempting surface" and who wrote her first novel, Lolly Willowes; or, The Loving Huntsman (1926), because she "happened to find very agreeable thin lined paper in a job lot."Educated privately, Warner originally intended to follow a career as a musicologist. One of the editors of the 10-volume Tudor Church Music (c. 1923-29), she was also a contributor to Grove's..
Donald Alfred Davie, (born July 17, 1922, Barnsley, Yorkshire, Eng.--died Sept. 18, 1995, Exeter, Devon), British poet, literary critic, and teacher who was a major conservative influence on British poetry in the 1950s.Davie served in the Royal Navy during World War II and obtained bachelor's (1947) and doctoral (1951) degrees from the University of Cambridge. He taught at Trinity College, Dublin (1950-57), Cambridge (1958-64), the University of Essex (1964-68), and Stanford University, Stanford, Calif. (1968-78).Davie was a principal figure in The Movement, a group of British poets..
A.J.A. Symons, in full Alphonse James Albert Symons, (born Aug. 16, 1900, London, Eng.--died Aug. 26, 1941, Colchester), British author and biographer best known for his brilliant and unconventional biography The Quest for Corvo (1934).Family economic difficulties obliged Symons to leave home and learn a trade at an early age. For three years he lived a life of drudgery, working as an apprentice to a furrier. His formal education was private and scanty; Symons considered himself self-educated and, as a writer, self-made. Employed as secretary and later director of the First Edition Club..
Gabriel Josipovici, in full Gabriel David Josipovici, (born October 8, 1940, Nice, France), French-born British novelist, literary theorist, dramatist, and short-story writer whose work was characterized by its experimental form and its attention to language.From 1945 Josipovici was reared in Egypt. He was educated at Victoria College, Cairo, and attended Cheltenham (England) College and St. Edmund Hall, Oxford (B.A., 1961). In 1963 he joined the faculty of the University of Sussex at Brighton, where he remained until retiring as professor emeritus in 1998.Josipovici laid the philosophical..
Colin Thubron, (born June 14, 1939, London, England), British travel writer and novelist whose works, often set in foreign locales, explore love, memory, and the loss of faith as well as the differences between the ideal and the real.After attending Eton College, Thubron worked as an editor at publishing houses in London and New York City. In 1965 he became a freelance documentary filmmaker and writer. Thubron's books about the Middle East, including Mirror to Damascus (1967) and Journey into Cyprus (1975), established him as a travel writer of original sensibility. Another travel book, Among..
Charles Locke Eastlake, (born March 11, 1836, Plymouth, Devon, Eng.--died Nov. 20, 1906, London), English museologist and writer on art who gave his name to a 19th-century furniture style.The nephew of the Neoclassical painter Sir Charles Lock Eastlake, he studied architecture at the Royal Academy of Arts, London, which in 1854 awarded him a silver medal for architectural drawing. Giving up that discipline, he studied art on the European continent, then returned to England to write and to design. In 1856 he married Eliza Bailey (d. 1911). In London he was secretary of the Royal Institute of..
D.M. Thomas, in full Donald Michael Thomas, (born January 27, 1935, Redruth, Cornwall, England), English poet and novelist best known for his novel The White Hotel (1981), in which fantasy and psychological insight are mingled.Thomas served in the British army and then studied at the University of Oxford (B.A., 1958; M.A., 1961). In his first poetry collection, Logan Stone (1971), he explored subjects that ranged from eroticism to science fiction to his native Cornwall, all of which became common themes of his work. His later collections, including The Shaft (1973), Love and Other Deaths..
Catherine Cookson, British author (born June 20, 1906, Jarrow, Durham, Eng.--died June 11, 1998, Jesmond Dene, near Newcastle upon Tyne, Eng.), penned almost 100 popular novels, which she set in the industrial region of northeastern England, frequently dubbed "Cookson Country." She was intimately familiar with the physical and emotional lay of this land, having been raised in the Tyneside docks area in poverty. Her early experiences lent an edge to her work, which was marked by an earthiness and sincerity that spoke to many readers. Early life was hard for Cookson, who was the illegitimate..
Roy Fuller, in full Roy Broadbent Fuller, (born Feb. 11, 1912, Failsworth, Lancashire, Eng.--died Sept. 27, 1991, London), British poet and novelist, best known for his concise and observant verse chronicling the daily routines of home and office.Educated privately in Lancashire, Fuller became a solicitor in 1934 and served in the Royal Navy (1941-45) during World War II. After the war he pursued a dual career as a lawyer and a man of letters; he served as assistant solicitor (1938-58) and then solicitor (1958-69) for the Woolwich Equitable Building Society, and he was professor of poetry at..
Charlotte Mew, in full Charlotte Mary Mew, (born Nov. 15, 1869, London, Eng.--died March 24, 1928, London), English writer who is notable for her short well-crafted, highly original poetry.Mew's life was largely unhappy. Two of her brothers died in infancy and another in boyhood, and a brother and sister were committed to mental hospitals at a young age. Mew and her sister Anne vowed to remain childless so as not to transmit what they believed to be a family disorder.In the 1890s Mew set about publishing her stories. She adopted many beliefs of the New Woman, traveling unescorted to France, smoking..
Radclyffe Hall, byname of Marguerite Radclyffe-hall, (born Aug. 12, 1880, Bournemouth, Hampshire, Eng.--died Oct. 7, 1943, London), English writer whose novel The Well of Loneliness (1928) created a scandal and was banned for a time in Britain for its treatment of lesbianism.Hall was educated at King's College, London, and then attended school in Germany. She began her literary career by writing verses, which were later collected into five volumes of poetry. The Blind Ploughman, one of her best-known poems, was set to music by Conigsby Clarke. By 1924 she had written her first two novels,..
Sir Angus Wilson, (born Aug. 11, 1913, Bexhill, East Sussex, Eng.--died May 31, 1991, Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk, Eng.), British writer whose fiction--sometimes serious, sometimes richly satirical--portrays conflicts in contemporary English social and intellectual life.Wilson was the youngest of six sons born to an upper-middle-class family who lived a shabby-genteel existence in small hotels and boarding houses, chiefly in London. This unsettled world on the fringe of society is featured in many of his short stories, and he describes it in his autobiographical Wild Garden (1963)...
H.E. Bates, in full Herbert Ernest Bates, (born May 16, 1905, Rushden, Northamptonshire, England--died January 29, 1974, Canterbury, Kent), English novelist and short-story writer of high reputation and wide popularity.Bates attended grammar school at Kettering; he qualified for university but did not attend because his family could not afford it. In 1921, at age 16, he joined the Northampton Chronicle as a reporter, but he left two months later because he did not like the work. He was next a clerk in a factory in Rushden, a job he held for two years. He began writing his first novel, The Two Sisters,..