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.
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