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.

John Cunliffe author of Postman Pat dies

By | Authors, Children's Literature | No Comments
The beloved author of Postman Pat, John Cunliffe, has died aged 85.

Postman Pat has been a part of many British children’s lives since 1981 when the first story was published. Cunliffe took inspiration from the Lake District when creating Postman Pat’s home- the fictional village of Greendale- with its rolling hills and dales, and small farms and villages.

Pat, and his feline friend Jess, drive about the village delivering letters, working through problems, and getting into the occasional scrape. The stories were commissioned by the BBC to produce a series of animations, which proved popular for over 40 years!

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New Book Explores the Relationship Between Writers and their Cats

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Released last month, Writers and Their Cats does exactly what it says on the tin. Writers are a solitary sort, at home all day, and so it does make them perfect for keeping house pets and cats and writing kind of go hand in hand. I’ve often wondered how many authors have a feline muse, draped across their lap as they type and now it seems this new book has all the answers.

This volume celebrates forty five famous writers including Mark Twain, Haruki Murakami, and Ursula K. Le Guin, who have shared their home and writing space with a feline friend. There are photographs and stories all exploring that special bond between wordsmith and mouser.

Here’s a taster:

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Haruki Murakami Withdraws His Book from This Year’s Alternative Nobel Prize

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Famed Japanese author Haruki Murakami has requested that his 2017 book Killing Commendatore be withdrawn from this year’s alternative Nobel Prize in Literature award. This year sees an alternative award called the New Academy Prize in Literature, as the original has been postponed this year following a sexual misconduct scandal.

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This Stage Presentation of Richard Wright’s Black Boy is Beautiful

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Richard Nathaniel Wright (September 4th, 1908 – November 28th, 1960) was an American author of novels, short stories, poems and non fiction. Born on a plantation in Roxie, Mississippi, much of Wright’s work concerns racial themes and the plight of African Americans during the late 19th to mid 20th centuries and the discrimination and violence they suffered. He’s credited with helping to change race relations in the USA.
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The Fall of Gondolin Is the Last Story of Tolkien’s to Be Edited by His Son

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For decades, J.R.R. Tolkien’s son Christopher Tolkien, has worked tirelessly to edit his father’s notes and bring us tales from Middle-Earth that remained unfinished at the time of his father’s death. Christopher Tolkien brought us many treasures from Middle-Earth, including the likes of The Silmarillion, Unfinished Tales, and a massive twelve volume series called The History of Middle-Earth.

Following this week’s release of The Fall of Gondolin, it seems that at the age of 93, Christopher Tolkien has finally finished working on his father’s legacy. As WinterisComing.net reports, Christopher has stated that “The Fall of Gondolin is indubitably the last” of his father’s work he’ll be involved with.

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