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Winston Mawdsley Graham OBE (30 June 190810 July 2003) was an Englishmarker novelist, best known for the Poldark series of historical novels.

Graham was born in Victoria Park, Manchestermarker, England. When he was 17 he moved to Perranporthmarker, Cornwallmarker. His first novel, The House with the Stained Glass Windows was published in 1934; his first Poldark novel, Ross Poldark, was published in 1945, and was followed by a series of eleven further titles, the last of which, Bella Poldark, came out in 2002. The series was set in Cornwall, especially in and around Perranporth, where Graham spent much of his life. The Poldark saga was made into a BBC television series in the 1970s and, with audiences reaching 14 million, was so successful that vicars moved or cancelled church services rather than try to hold them when Poldark was showing.

Aside from the Poldark series, Graham's most successful work was Marnie, a thriller which was filmed by Alfred Hitchcock in 1964. Hitchcock had originally hoped that Grace Kelly would return to films to play the lead and she had agreed in principle, but the plan failed when the principality of Monacomarker realised that the heroine was a thief and sexually repressed. The leads were eventually taken by Tippi Hedren and Sean Connery. Five of Graham's other books were filmed, including The Walking Stick, Night Without Stars and Take My Life.

Graham was an accomplished writer of suspense novels and in the course of his life wrote nearly thirty novels (in addition to the twelve Poldarks). A 1941 spy thriller Night Journey set in the contemporary Nazi-occupied Europe captures the spirit of the time, with the protagonist feeling that Britain was going to lose the war but is determined to "go down fighting". Graham also wrote a history of The Spanish Armadas and an historical novel, The Grove of Eagles, based in that period. (The plural "Armadas" refers to a lesser-known second attempt by Philip II of Spain to conquer England, in 1598, which Graham argued was better planned and organised than the famous one of 1588 but was foiled by a fierce storm scattering the Spanish ships and sinking many of them).

He married Jean Williamson in September, 1939, a woman he had first met in 1926 when she was 13.She died in December 1992 In his youth he was a keen tennis player, recording in his diaries how many sets he played each day. He lived in Perranporth from 1925 until 1959, briefly in the south of France in 1960 and then settled in East Sussex. He was Chairman of the Society of Authors and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, and in 1983 was honoured with the OBE.

Graham's autobiography, Memoirs of a Private Man, was published by Macmillan in 2003. To celebrate the centenary of his birth, the Royal Cornwall Museummarker in Truromarker, Cornwallmarker, is holding an exhibition devoted to his life and works ("Poldark's Cornwall: The life and times of Winston Graham") from mid-June to mid-September, 2008 to coincide with the re-publication of the Poldark novels by Pan Macmillan.

The Winston Graham Historical Prize was launched as part of the Centenary Celebrations. Funded by a legacy from the author and supported by Pan Macmillan it is for a work of unpublished fiction, preferably with a connection to Cornwall. Full details can be obtained from the Royal Cornwall Museummarker.

The majority of Winston Graham's manuscripts and papers have been donated to the Royal Institute of Cornwall by his son Andrew Graham and daughter Rosamund Barteau. Further papers are housed at the Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center at Boston University.

Bibliography

The Poldark Series

  • 1945 - Ross Poldark
  • 1946 - Demelza
  • 1950 - Jeremy Poldark
  • 1953 - Warleggan
  • 1973 - The Black Moon
  • 1976 - The Four Swans
  • 1977 - The Angry Tide
  • 1981 - The Stranger from the Sea
  • 1983 - Poldark's Cornwall (non-fiction)
  • 1982 - The Miller's Dance
  • 1984 - The Loving Cup
  • 1990 - The Twisted Sword
  • 2002 - Bella Poldark


Other Works

  • 1934 - House with Stained Glass Windows
  • 1935 - Into the Fog
  • 1935 - The Riddle of John Rowe
  • 1936 - Without Motive
  • 1937 - The Dangerous Pawn
  • 1938 - The Giant's Chair (revised edition, 1975 as Woman in the Mirror)
  • 1939 - Keys of Chance
  • 1939 - Strangers Meeting
  • 1940 - No Exit
  • 1941 - Night Journey (revised edition, 1966)
  • 1942 - My Turn Next (revised edition, 1988 as Cameo)
  • 1944 - The Merciless Ladies (revised edition, 1979)
  • 1945 - The Forgotten Story
  • 1947 - Take My Life
  • 1949 - Cordelia
  • 1950 - Night without Stars
  • 1953 - Fortune Is a Woman
  • 1955 - The Little Walls (Gold Dagger Award)
  • 1956 - The Sleeping Partner
  • 1957 - Greek Fire
  • 1959 - The Tumbled House
  • 1961 - Marnie
  • 1963 - The Grove of Eagles
  • 1965 - After the Act
  • 1967 - The Walking Stick
  • 1970 - Angel, Pearl and Little God
  • 1971 - The Japanese Girl (short stories)
  • 1972 - The Spanish Armadas (non-fiction)
  • 1982 - The Cornish Farm (short stories)
  • 1986 - The Green Flash
  • 1992 - Stephanie
  • 1995 - Tremor
  • 1998 - The Ugly Sister
  • 2003 - Memoirs of a Private Man (autobiography)


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