No. 19: James Joyce at 40

James JoyceTomorrow – 16 June – is Bloomsday, an annual international celebration of Joyce’s most famous work Ulysses. The significance of the date is that is the day in which the action of Ulysses is set, yet an equally important date for Ulysses – i.e. its first publication as a novel – is, would you believe, his 40th birthday on 2 February 1922. Continue reading “No. 19: James Joyce at 40”


No. 17: C. S. Lewis at 40

LewisBorn in 1898, Clive Staples Lewis turned 40 in 1938. With a name like that it’s no wonder before he was four he’d already defiantly demanded to be known as Jack, and of course we know him better today by his initials, CS. Continue reading “No. 17: C. S. Lewis at 40”

No. 16: H G Wells at 40

H_G__Wells_by_BeresfordBorn in 1866, H G Wells turned 40 in 1906. By this time some of his most famous works of science fiction had been written, but rather than rest on his laurels Wells was working hard at a wider range of literature and social commentary. Continue reading “No. 16: H G Wells at 40”

No 12: Anton Chekhov at 40

ChekhovSo far in this series we have seen some writers who are winding down at 40, others who were already dead at 40, or others yet who were still developing their craft at 40. But in the case of Anton Chekov, born 29 January 1860 and therefore turned 40 in 1900, 40 is in many ways the moment: the time for which he is remembered, for it is around this age that he wrote his most successful plays that were to secure his legacy. Continue reading “No 12: Anton Chekhov at 40”

No. 7: Daphne du Maurier at 40

The novelist, playwright, biographer and short story writer Daphne du Maurier (1907-1989) turned 40 years of age in 1947. By that time she was married to Lt-Gen Frederick ‘Boy’ Browning (1896-1965), the mother of three children, and a well-known novelist following the immense popularity of her fifth book, Rebecca (1938). None of her work was published in 1947 but The King’s General (1946), and The Parasites (1949), are novels composed around that time, as were the stories in The Apple Tree (1952). Continue reading “No. 7: Daphne du Maurier at 40”

No. 5: Terry Pratchett at 40


Born on the 24th April 1948, Terry Pratchett turned 40 in 1988. At this time he was on the ascendant with a great deal of his success still to come; though he was not yet made a knight (that would be 2009), nor even received an OBE (that would be aged 50 in 1998), at 40 years old his reputation was forming and fanbase growing as his now-celebrated Discworld series left its infancy and Pratchett consolidated the direction of these novels. Continue reading “No. 5: Terry Pratchett at 40”