Wilbur Smith is a prolific novelist, specialising in historical fiction set mostly in, or regarding South Africa, it’s politics and the international involvement in the country over hundreds of years.
Smith was born in Northern Rhodesia (now Kabwe, Zambia) on 9th January 1933, His father was a metal worker, a tough man who Smith said had ‘probably never read a book in his life’. He hoped his son would go on to work with his hands, and spent Wilbur’s childhood trying to toughen him up. His mother was more encouraging of her son’s avid reading, encouraging him and seeing the potential of him receiving a good education.
While attending boarding school in Natal, Wilbur Smith continued to be an avid reader, and developed a good relationship with his English master, with whom he would discuss books. It was the Master who tough Smith that being a bookworm was worthy of praise and he was the first person to realise Smith’s writing potential.
Eventually, Smith would work on his father’s cattle ranch, served with the Rhodesian Police, and even tried out accountancy with the Inland Revenue before writing his first novel.
Eventually Smith would go back to writing fiction, selling his first story to Argozy magazine for 70 pounds, twice his monthly salary. Eventually he would go on to write ‘When the Lion Feeds’ and his debut novel was a success.
To date, Wilbur Smith has written 35 novels, selling more than 120 million copies. Many of his novels have been adapted for screen including ‘The Dark of the Sun’, filmed as ‘The Mercenaries’, ‘Shout at the Devil’, and ‘River God’.
Here’s Wilbur himself in an interview from 2009 (in two parts), a little while ago now and in it he talks of writing, his works, and his influences.
It seems there are different rules when it comes to ‘reality TV stars’.
A fantastic interview from a UK publication Now Magazine was printed recently where they interviewed ‘celebrity’ Gemma Collins from television series The Only Way Is Essex (or: TOWIE).
It came to light that Gemma ‘I’m a big fan of the dictionary‘ Collins (yes she really said that in an interview once) is likely to have never read her own book -let alone written it. In a car-crash interview, printed in full by Now Magazine, the celeb and the journalist created what could be the worst interview about a book ever.
Born David Clive King in Richmond, Surrey on 24th April 1924, King grew up in Ash in Kent and was educated at the King’s School, Rochester before eventually graduating with a BA in English. From 1943 to 1946 King served as a Sub-Lieutenant in the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve, which took him to many places around the world including Japan where he saw the then recent devastation of Hiroshima.
BBC Radio 4’s The Kitchen Cabinet programme (download the weekly podcast) this week was held in Bournemouth where J.R.R. Tolkien would frequently holiday with his family. Dr Una McCormack, Tolkien expert and food lover, spoke with the hosts, Jay Rayner and Sophie Wright, about the author and discussed favourite foodie scenes from The Hobbit.