Herbert Ernest Bates (16th May 1905 – 29th January 1974) was an English prolific novelist who was possibly best known for his adapted works, The Darling Buds of May, Love for Lydia, and My Uncle Silas.
Born in Rushden, Northamptonshire, Bates worked as a reporter and warehouse clerk before finding fame as a novelist. A keen walker, Bates enjoyed long walks around the Northamptonshire countryside and it was this that proved inspiration for his novels, many of which are set around the rural Midlands.
H. E Bates started writing early in his life, writing and discarding his first novel in his late teens. His second, and the first to be published, The Two Sisters was inspired by a late night walk that took him to the small village of Farndish where he saw a light burning in a cottage window.
At this time Bates was working for a small newspaper in Wellingborough, a job that he hated, later he worked at a shoe making warehouse and it was here he found time to write while working. After sending his first novel off to publishers he found rejection, and received eight or nine rejection letters, the novel was eventually published and a stack of novels, short stories and essays followed, although Bates found writing did not pay well.
During World War II Bates was drafted by the RAF, not to fight, his sole requirement was to write short stories to be published in the news chronicle under the pseudonym “Flying Officer X”. Later these stories would be collected into a book titled The Greatest People in the World and Other Stories.
It was during this time that Bates would have his first financial success with Fair Stood the Wind for France, which he followed with several other wartime novels.
H. E Bates most successful works came after World War II, as did his most prolific writing, after the war Bates averaged one novel and one collection of short stories a year. These include his best known works, Love for Lydia, My Uncle Silas, Feast of July and his most successful series, The Darling Buds of May. Many of which have been adapted succesfully for film and television.
Bates private life mirrored the idyllic scenes of his novels. In 1931 he married his sweetheart Marge Cox and moved to the village of Little March, Kent. The couple bought an Old Granary and an acre of land, transforming it into a country home. They lived here for the whole of their married life, raising a daughter and two sons.
Bates died in 1974, aged 68 and wouldn’t live long enough to see his most famous works adapted for television and movie. During his lifetime, H. E Bates wrote twenty-five standalone novels, five ‘Pop Larkin’ novels, from the Darling Buds of May series, two Uncle Silas novels, forty-two short story collections, two plays, eighteen essays or nonfiction, five books for children, and three autobiographies, making him one of the most prolific English authors of all time.
Jazmin Truesdale has been a proud nerd all her life, loving comic books, science fiction, and action movies, but always looking for some positive representation within those entertainment spheres. As one may imagine the worlds of graphic novels and comic books are very straight-white-male-centric, with shallow female characters. and few depictions of non-white women.
Jazmin, with her entrepreneurial mind and passion for cultural diversity, began creating characters she would want to read about and, with the help from an illustrator, her universe was born. It has not been an easy journey- finding an illustrator who knew how to draw Black women’s bodies was one particular hurdle to overcome, however Jazmin’s drive and focus ensured her goal became a reality.
The author, who has sold more than 70 million books during her career claims that her husband, Lawrence Kenyon was lacing her food with poison from 2014 until they split last year. She says the poison left her with clumps of hair falling out, crumbling teeth, tremors and back pain, all unexplained by doctors until tests showed unusually high levels of lithium in her blood.
She claims her husband was helped by his assistant Kerrie Ann Plump and her IT specialist Paco Cavanaugh to carry on the scheme and says that her husband laced her food while Cavanaugh siphoned hundreds of thousands off her bank accounts.
Born Susan Rosenblatt in New York City to Jewish parents of Lithuanian and Polish descent. When Susan was five years old her father died and several years later her mother married a US Army Captain, Nathan Sontag, giving Susan the name we remember her by. Despite being raised by Jewish parents, Sontag stated that she did not have a religious upbringing and was in her 20s before she entered a synagogue.
Before he created the writer-persona of Dr Seuss, Geisel was an artist of another kind. In his spare time he created sculptures of interesting and strange creatures, using parts of real animals. Of course it is not as grotesque as it sounds- the animal parts were given to Theodor after the animals died of natural causes. His father was the superintendent of parks in Massachusetts at the time when a young Geisel was working as a fledgling author and illustrator. When zoo and park animals crossed the rainbow bridge, Geisel’s father sent him the various animals’ parts to help him create some whacky characters.
Horns, antlers, beaks, and all sorts were used by Geisel to build some of the most fantastical animals that, unsurprisingly, look like they have jumped straight out of a Dr Seuss picture book.
The author of And We’re Off, and memoir Choose Your Own Disaster, offered to stand at the back of a funeral with a massive black umbrella, looking mysterious. For a small fee, of course.
Fellow authors and humorists of Twitter, including our favourite Neil Gaiman, got involved to either take her up on the offer or to join the enterprise. A surprising amount of people were up for it, prompting Schwartz to promote her latest book in place of Venmo donations.
Born in Kentucky to parents Sallie Caldwell and Samuel Hegan, Alice was drawn to creative pursuits from childhood and loved drawing and writing poetry and short stories. Alice spent much of her career advocating for the rights of the underprivileged. She lived most of her life in Louisville, which is where she met her husband, Cale Young Rice who was also an author, dramatist and poet.