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Biography's Source: From the publisher
H. E. Bates was born in 1905 at Rushden in Northamptonshire and was educated at Kettering Grammar School. He worked as a journalist and clerk on a local newspaper before publishing his first book, The Two Sisters
, when he was twenty. In the next fifteen years he acquired a distinguished reputation for his stories about English country life. During the Second World War he was a Squadron Leader in the R.A.F. and some of his stories of service life, The Greatest People in the World
(1942), How Sleep the Brave
(1943) and The Face of England
(1953), were written under the pseudonym of 'Flying Officer X'. His subsequent novels of Burma, The Purple Plain
and The Jacaranda Tree
, and of India, The Scarlet Sword
, stemmed directly or indirectly from his experience in the Eastern theatre of war. Perhaps one of his most famous works of fiction is the bestselling novel Fair Stood the Wind for France
In 1958 his writing took a new direction with the appearance of The Darling Buds of May, the first of the popular Larkin family novels, which was followed by A Breath of French Air (1959), When the Green Woods Laugh (1960), Oh! To Be in England (1963) and A Little of What You Fancy (1970). His autobiography appeared in three volumes, The Vanished World (1969), The Blossoming World (1971) and The World in Ripeness (1972). His last works included the novel, The Triple Echo (1971), and a collection of short stories, The Song of the Wren (1972). H. E. Bates also wrote miscellaneous works on gardening, essays on country life, several plays including The Day of Glory (1945), The Modern Short Story (1941) and a story for children, The White Admiral (1968). His works have been translated into sixteen languages. A posthumous collection of his stories, The Yellow Meads of Asphodel, appeared in 1976.
H. E. Bates was awarded the C.B.E. in 1973 and died in January 1974. He was married in 1931 and had four children.
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