A. J. Cronin, Surgeon, Fisherman, Novelist

By July 19, 2018Authors
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Archibald Joseph Cronin, better known to readers as A. J Cronin (19th July 1896 – 6th January 1981) was a Scottish novelist best known for novels such as The Citadel, Vigil in the Night, and The Green Years. However, Cronin was so much more than just a novelist and lived a full and exciting life.

Born in Cardross, Dunbartonshire, Scotland in 1896, Cronin was an only child of a protestant mother and a catholic father. This life experience showed through in his writing and he often wrote of young men from similarly mixed backgrounds. He would go on in his life to be a prolific novelist, averaging 5,000 words a day and publishing more than 30 books during his life, but he was so much more than just a writer.

During the First World War Cronin served as a surgeon sub-lieutenant in the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve before graduating from medical school. After the war he trained at several hospitals and eventually undertook general practices in a small village on the Clyde, Garelochhead, and Tredegar South Wales. His work on the correlation between coal dust and pulmonary disease lived on throughout the 20th century and provided research for his best known novel, The Citadel.

As well as being a precocious student and talented doctor, Cronin was an avid golfer, excellent athlete and footballer who loved sport all through his life, and also a keen salmon fisherman.

In the 1930s Cronin was diagnosed with a chronic duodenal ulcer and told to take six months rest, it was in this time he decided to indulge his lifelong desire to write a novel and it was this decision that led to him being known to the world as one of the most prolific authors of the 20th century.

Cronin received several literary awards during his lifetime and many of his novels went on to be adapted for movie and his books are still loved today. If you haven’t ever read any of A. J Cronin’s novels, the links below link to his entire back catalogue.

8 books by left-handed authors to celebrate ‘International Left Handers Day’

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Left handers have been mocked and demonised throughout the years, especially from religious people who believe the left hand to be ‘unclean’, or accusing left handers to be ‘consorting with the devil’.

As absurd as those claims may seem now, some of the negativity towards left-handed folk remains to this day. Left handers were still battling in the 20th century against people like American psychoanalyst Abram Blau, who accused all left-handers of being perverts. Even seemingly well-meaning teachers still insist on their student switching hands when they start to learn to write.

If only left handers were just left to be lefties! Some of our favourite writers were left-handed, and it is said that lefties tend to be more creative and arty than right handers.

Here’s a list of 8 of our favourite lefty writers.

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Nobel Prize Winning Author VS Naipaul Dies

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Novelist VS Naipaul has died peacefully at home in London just a few days before his 86th birthday. The Nobel Prize winning author of more than thirty books including A Bend in the River and A House for Mr Biswas was born in rural Trinidad in 1932 and went on to become a key figure in British literary heritage.

Sir VS Naipaul had been in ill health for a while and published his final work, the nonfiction The Masque of Africa: Glimpses of African Belief in 2010. Today the literary world is in shock. Here are some of the tributes on Twitter today.

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Roots Author Alex Haley Talks of the Horrors of Slavery

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Alex Haley (August 11th, 1921 – February 10th, 1992) was an American author, best known for his 1976 Pulitzer Prize winning book Roots: The Saga of an American Family, adapted to a series a year later in 1977.

While a fantastic story, Roots was not without controversy and its release was marred by accusations of plagiarism (proven to be partly true), and doubts cast on the authenticity of the family ties. Today the book is accepted to be a work of fiction, and controversy aside is still a worthy read with an important message.

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Chinese Crime Writer Who Used His Own Murders as Inspiration for His Stories Sentenced to Death

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Last year, we reported the news that the Chinese crime author Liu Yongbiao had been arrested for the decades old murder of four people he and a friend killed after a robbery went wrong. Following his trial a few days ago, the 53-year-old has been sentenced to death for the murders which occurred 23 years ago.

In 1995, Liu Yongbiao and an accomplice named Wang Mouming robbed a hostel. After being discovered, the two killed a family of three as well as another guest by beating them to death him hammers and clubs in order to cover their tracks. Since the crime, Liu became a famed writer and was even a member of the China Writers’ Association.

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A Story Ernest Hemingway Wrote in 1956 Is to Be Published for the First Time

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Ernest Hemingway is arguably one of the finest authors to have ever put pen to paper, and his given us many modern classics such as A Farewell to Arms, For Whom the Bell Tolls, and The Old Man and the Sea. Fans of Hemingway will be very pleased to learn that, more than 60 years after it was first written, a Hemingway story called A Room at the Garden Side is set to be published for the first time.

For decades, the novel has remained hidden away from scholars and academics, but has finally resurfaced. The story takes place in the Ritz Hotel, Paris, a setting which has appeared in previous Hemingway novels and holds personal significance for the author. The novel is narrated by a character called Robert, who happens to share Hemingway’s own nickname, Papa. Robert and his band of soldiers, who are all due to leave the city the next day, spend their time drinking and debating “the dirty trade of war.”
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4 Brilliant Leon Uris Books

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Leon Uris (3rd August, 1924 – June 21, 2003) was an American author of historical fiction who wrote many bestselling books. Born in Baltimore, Maryland, Uris was the son of Jewish American parents Wolf William and Anna Uris. His father was a Polish born immigrant, his mother a first generation Russian American.

Uris was six years old when he was first recognised for his literary skills when he wrote an operetta inspired by the death of his dog. He would go on to write many bestselling works, based around major political and historic events. Today we’re going to recommend four books you may like to try. Read More



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