Wilbur Smith – A Life in Books

By January 9, 2018Authors, Literature

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.

When autobiographies go bad: reality stars and book deals.

By | Authors, Literature | No Comments
Autobiographies are supposed to be books about someone’s life written by that same someone… In other cases it is written by another person and is then called a ‘biography’. Pretty simple right?

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.

Read More

Stig of the Dump Author, Clive King Dies, Aged 94

By | Authors, Children's Literature, News | No Comments
Clive King, who brought us the children’s classic Stig of the Dump has died aged 94 earlier this week.

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.
Read More

J.K. Rowling Burns Twitter User Who Threatens to Burn His Harry Potter Books

By | Authors, News, Political | No Comments
Yesterday, we reported the news that J.K. Rowling, along with several other notable Twitter users, was in stitches over the fact that President Donald Trump published a Tweet boasting of his writing skills. The problem is, the Tweet actually contained an error. Trump used the word ‘pour’ when he meant to use ‘pore’. He has since deleted the Tweet and republished it with the correct use of the word. Read More

How Tolkien’s love for hearty food influenced his writing

By | Authors, Literature | No Comments
Tolkien is best known for his Lord of the Rings trilogy and the classic novel The Hobbit, but how much do you know about his passion for wholesome food and how it shows through his writing?

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.

Read More



One Comment

Leave a Reply