H. E Bates and the Darling Buds of a Long Writer Career

By May 16, 2018Authors
book of the month

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.

US UK

US UK

US UK

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.

US UK

US UK

US UK

Frank McCourt: Wise Words From The Teacher Man

By | Authors, Quotations | No Comments
book of the month
Frank McCourt was born on 19th August 1930 in Brooklyn New York. His family moved back to Ireland during the Great Depression, where his alcoholic father, found it difficult to come by and keep a job. After McCourt’s father left Limerick, his mother struggled alone, to bring up Frank and his siblings in abject poverty.

McCourt returned to NewYork in 1949, where he managed to survive doing odd jobs, until he was drafted during The Korean War. On his discharge he managed to bluff his way into New York University, where in 1957 he graduated with a batchelor’s degree in English. He went on to teach at six schools in Brooklyn and Manhattan and earned his master’s degree in 1967. Read More

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

By | Authors | No Comments
book of the month
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.

Read More

Nobel Prize Winning Author VS Naipaul Dies

By | Authors, News | No Comments
book of the month
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.

Read More

Roots Author Alex Haley Talks of the Horrors of Slavery

By | Authors, Video | No Comments
book of the month
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.

Read More

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

By | Authors, News | No Comments
book of the month
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.

Read More

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

By | Authors, New Releases | No Comments
book of the month
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.”
Read More



Leave a Reply