|Born|| Alan Emlyn Williams|
28 August 1935
|Occupation||Novelist, journalist, foreign correspondent|
Alan Emlyn Williams (born 28 August1935 ) is an ex-foreign correspondent, novelist and writer of thrillers. He was educated at Stowe, Grenoble and Heidelberg Universities, and at King's College, Cambridge, where he graduated in 1957 with a B.A. in modern languages. His father was the actor and writer Emlyn Williams. Noël Coward was his godfather. His younger brother Brook (1938–2005) was also an actor.
Stowe School is a selective independent school in Stowe, Buckinghamshire. It was opened on 11 May 1923, initially with 99 schoolboys, and with J. F. Roxburgh as the first headmaster. The school is a member of the Rugby Group, the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference, and the G20 Schools' Group. Originally for boys only, the school is now coeducational, with some 550 boys and 220 girls.
King's College is a constituent college of the University of Cambridge in Cambridge, England. Formally The King's College of Our Lady and Saint Nicholas in Cambridge, the college lies beside the River Cam and faces out onto King's Parade in the centre of the city.
George Emlyn Williams, CBE, known as Emlyn Williams, was a Welsh writer, dramatist and actor.
Williams was briefly married to literary agent Maggie Noach (pronounced "NO-ack")(1949–2006). Together they compiled The Dictionary of Disgusting Facts .
The Dictionary of Disgusting Facts is a 1986 book by Alan Williams and Maggie Noach. This cult oddity is a collection of often disgusting anecdotes and definitions.
Journalist Philippa Toomey describes him as a "talented and funny mimic with a gift for words and a stock of tales from the shaggy Express story to the grimmer side of international journalism."
He has three children. Owen (born 1977) and Laura (born 1980) were the children of with his wife at the time, Antonia (née Simpson).He then married Maggie Noach and their daughter Sophie was born in 1989.
Williams' British paperback publishers would claim that his first-hand experience of adventure and intrigue was put to superb use in his novels.
As a student, he took part in the Hungarian uprising. He took a supply of penicillin to the insurgents in Budapest.He masqueraded his way into East Germany when that country was virtually closed. He was a delegate from Cambridge to the World Festival of Peace and Friendship in Warsaw, where he and some friends smuggled a Polish student to the West.
The Hungarian Revolution of 1956, or Hungarian Uprising of 1956, was a nationwide revolution against the Hungarian People's Republic and its Soviet-imposed policies, lasting from 23 October until 10 November 1956. Though leaderless when it first began, it was the first major threat to Soviet control since the USSR's forces drove Nazi Germany from its territory at the end of World War II.
After graduating from Cambridge, Williams worked for Radio Free Europe in Munich.He then moved on to print journalism, starting at the Western Mail . He then joined The Guardian before becoming foreign correspondent for The Daily Express , covering international wars and "other horrors".
He covered stories in the Middle East, Eastern Europe, the Soviet Union, Israel and the Far East. As a reporter he covered most of the world's trouble spots – Vietnam, the Middle-East, Algeria, Czechoslovakia, Ulster, Mozambique, Cyprus and Rhodesia.
He covered two Israeli–Arab conflicts, including the Six-Day War.
In Algeria, the Foreign Office received complaints about him from both the French Army and the Arabs.Subsequently, he had to be smuggled out of the country after the word barbouze (spy) had been written on his car, In Beirut, he encountered Kim Philby the day before the latter disappeared to Moscow.
His Vietnam reporting won him much praise. Jon Bradshaw called him "perhaps the best observer of war in England. His articles on Vietnam are far and away the best pieces produced in Britain on the subject."According to Phillip Knightley, correspondents sewed their official identification tags – name and organisation – on their jackets. However, Williams' press accreditation tag carried an unintended connotation, which raised eyebrows: Alan Williams, Queen, though "it was to the disbelief of most GIs", wrote Phillip Knightley.
Journalist and war correspondent Nicholas Tomalin described Williams as his wildest friend. Williams based a character in The Beria Papers on Tomalin and, upon selling the film rights, told Tomalin that he should play himself in the movie version.
Soviet authorities had prohibited Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn from publishing his semi-autobiographical novel Cancer Ward . The notoriety piqued British publishers' curiosity, among them The Bodley Head. Rival attempts were soon under way to obtain a copy of the manuscript. Williams and his friend Nicholas Bethell went behind the Iron Curtain to obtain the manuscript from a go-between who had a signed document attesting that he was acting on Solzhenitsyn's behalf. Both men knew they were risking their lives and time. There was no guarantee they would succeed, be the first to obtain the novel, or that The Bodley Head would purchase the manuscript let alone publish it.According to several sources, Williams smuggled the book out of Czechoslovakia, passing through the frontier post with the leaves spread out on his lap under a road map. The Bodley Head subsequently published the first Russian-language edition of the novel and the English language translation.
Williams used a fictionalised version of this incident as an ironic story element in his novel The Beria Papers. There, the protagonists pretend to smuggle a manuscript from behind the Iron Curtain.
Williams won immediate acclaim with his first novel: Long Run South was runner-up in the 1963 John Llewelyn Rhys Memorial Prize
Noël Coward wrote in his diary, "I have read a thriller by my godson Alan Williams called Long Run South and it is really very good indeed. He is an authentic writer. There is, as with all his generation, too much emphasis on sex, squalor and torture and horror, but it's graphically and imaginatively written."
His second novel, Barbouze, was even better received. Several critics said that it transcended the genre,lifting him into the top-most ranks of younger serious British novelists. The Sunday Telegraph declared Barbouze a compassionate thriller. The Sunday Times praised the exuberance and poetry in the writing which the reviewer noted was then very rare in British fiction.
Williams remained a favourite of the critics over the years. Books & Bookmen called Williams "the natural successor to Ian Fleming."British Book News said "Alan Williams is a thriller writer who has conspicuously succeeded in the rare feat of combining a novelist's art with a journalist's training." The New York Times critic Martin Levin said, "If you were to ask me who were the top ten writers of intrigue novels, I would list Alan Williams among the first five."
His fellow writers also lauded him. Williams was a firm favourite of spy novelist John Gardner who said The Beria Papers and Gentleman Traitor "were both ahead of their time" and described Williams as "one of the important figures in the change and development of the espionage novel."Gardner subsequently called The Beria Papers one of the ten greatest spy novels ever written. Author and critic H.R.F. Keating praised the "authentic feel" of his novels, adding "their pacy excitement derives from their author's writing skill." And according to crime author Mike Ripley, "a good thriller can take you to an entirely foreign environment, as in the books of Alan Williams". Bestselling author Robert Ludlum was a devotee. He especially admired Holy of Holies, insisting that it "will glue you to your chair with suspense."
The Pink Jungle is an adaptation of Snake Water. The film, which starred James Garner, Eva Renzi and George Kennedy was neither a critical or financial success.Williams deemed it the worst film he'd ever seen in his life. He complained that the film-makers took the characters' names and nothing else from his novel.
Dirk Bogarde had hoped to make a film of Barbouze co-starring Orson Welles with Bryan Forbes directing, but this came to nothing.
A proposed film of Long Run South, to have been filmed on location in 1967, never materialised.
Richard Burton purchased film rights to The Tale of the Lazy Dog.Shillingford Productions currently holds film rights.
|Wikiquote has quotations related to: Alan Williams (novelist)|
Jane Austen was an English novelist known primarily for her six major novels, which interpret, critique and comment upon the British landed gentry at the end of the 18th century. Austen's plots often explore the dependence of women on marriage in the pursuit of favourable social standing and economic security. Her works critique the novels of sensibility of the second half of the 18th century and are part of the transition to 19th-century literary realism. Her use of biting irony, along with her realism, humour, and social commentary, have long earned her acclaim among critics, scholars, and popular audiences alike.
Spy fiction, a genre of literature involving espionage as an important context or plot device, emerged in the early twentieth century, inspired by rivalries and intrigues between the major powers, and the establishment of modern intelligence agencies. It was given new impetus by the development of fascism and communism in the lead-up to World War II, continued to develop during the Cold War, and received a fresh impetus from the emergence of rogue states, international criminal organizations, global terrorist networks, maritime piracy and technological sabotage and espionage as potent threats to Western societies.
Desmond Bagley was a British journalist and novelist principally known for a series of best-selling thrillers. Along with fellow British writers such as Hammond Innes and Alistair MacLean, Bagley established the basic conventions of the genre: a tough, resourceful, but essentially ordinary hero pitted against villains determined to sow destruction and chaos in order to advance their agenda.
The Mayor of Casterbridge: The Life and Death of a Man of Character is an 1886 novel by the English author Thomas Hardy. One of Hardy's Wessex novels, it is set in a fictional rural England with Casterbridge standing in for Dorchester in Dorset where the author spent his youth. It was first published as a weekly serialisation from January 1886.
Michael Frayn, FRSL is an English playwright and novelist. He is best known as the author of the farce Noises Off and the dramas Copenhagen and Democracy. His novels, such as Towards the End of the Morning, Headlong and Spies, have also been critical and commercial successes, making him one of the handful of writers in the English language to succeed in both drama and prose fiction. He has also written philosophical works, such as The Human Touch: Our Part in the Creation of the Universe (2006).
Hay Fever is a comic play written by Noël Coward in 1924 and first produced in 1925 with Marie Tempest as the first Judith Bliss. Best described as a cross between high farce and a comedy of manners, the play is set in an English country house in the 1920s, and deals with the four eccentric members of the Bliss family and their outlandish behaviour when they each invite a guest to spend the weekend. The self-centred behaviour of the hosts finally drives their guests to flee while the Blisses are so engaged in a family row that they do not notice their guests' furtive departure.
Victor Canning was a prolific British writer of novels and thrillers who flourished in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. He was personally reticent, writing no memoirs and giving relatively few newspaper interviews.
Alan Furst is an American author of historical spy novels. Furst has been called "an heir to the tradition of Eric Ambler and Graham Greene," whom he cites along with Joseph Roth and Arthur Koestler as important influences. Most of his novels since 1988 have been set just prior to or during the Second World War and he is noted for his successful evocations of Eastern European peoples and places during the period from 1933 to 1944.
Walter Herman Wager was an American crime and espionage-thriller novelist. The movie Telefon, starring Charles Bronson, was inspired by his novel of the same name. His book 58 Minutes was adapted into Die Hard 2, starring Bruce Willis.
Per Fine Ounce is the title of an unpublished novel by Geoffrey Jenkins featuring Ian Fleming's James Bond. It was completed c.1966 and is considered a "lost" novel by fans of James Bond because it was actually commissioned by Glidrose Productions, the official publishers of James Bond. It was rejected for publication, however, missing the opportunity to become the first continuation James Bond novel. The Adventures of James Bond Junior 003½, a novel written by the pseudonymous R. D. Mascott, was later published in 1967 featuring James Bond's nephew; Colonel Sun written by Kingsley Amis under the pseudonym Robert Markham was published in 1968 as the first adult continuation novel following Ian Fleming's The Man with the Golden Gun (1965).
Our Man in Havana is a 1959 British spy comedy film shot in CinemaScope, directed and produced by Carol Reed and starring Alec Guinness, Burl Ives, Maureen O'Hara, Ralph Richardson, Noël Coward and Ernie Kovacs. The film is adapted from the 1958 novel Our Man in Havana by Graham Greene. The film takes the action of the novel and gives it a more comedic touch. The movie marks Reed's third collaboration with Greene.
Sir Noël Peirce Coward was an English playwright, composer, director, actor and singer, known for his wit, flamboyance, and what Time magazine called "a sense of personal style, a combination of cheek and chic, pose and poise".
The Vortex is a play in three acts by the English writer and actor Noël Coward. The play depicts the sexual vanity of a rich, ageing beauty, her troubled relationship with her adult son, and drug abuse in British society circles after the First World War. The son's cocaine habit is seen by many critics as a metaphor for homosexuality, then taboo in Britain. Despite, or because of, its controversial content for the time, the play was Coward's first great commercial success.
A prolific playwright and successful actor and director, Noël Coward has had a significant impact on culture in the English-speaking world. Time magazine said that he had a unique "sense of personal style, a combination of cheek and chic, pose and poise".
Stephen Coulter was an English novelist, journalist, and, as James Mayo, the author of several spy and adventure thrillers.
Jeremy Duns is a British author of spy fiction and the history of espionage. Born in Manchester, he now resides in the Åland Islands.
Thriller film, also known as suspense film or suspense thriller, is a broad film genre that involves excitement and suspense in the audience. The suspense element, found in most films' plots, is particularly exploited by the filmmaker in this genre. Tension is created by delaying what the audience sees as inevitable, and is built through situations that are menacing or where escape seems impossible.
Set in 1970s London, Legacy is a spy novel by English author Alan Judd. Published in 2001 it continues the story of Charles Thoroughgood, first introduced in his debut novel, A Breed of Heroes, published 20 years earlier. British historian Peter Hennessy described it as 'one of the best spy novels ever'.
Les Barbouzes is a 1964 French cult comedy film, screened in the USA as The Great Spy Chase. Starring Lino Ventura, Bernard Blier and Mireille Darc, with witty dialogue by Michel Audiard, it is an espionage caper built around the efforts of agents from various countries to extract valuable weaponry patents from the young and attractive widow of an international arms dealer.
Len Deighton is an English author known for his novels, works of military history, screenplays and cookery writing. He had a varied career, including as a pastry cook, waiter, co-editor of a magazine, teacher and air steward before writing his first novel in 1962: The IPCRESS File. He continued to produce what his biographer John Reilly considers "stylish, witty, well-crafted novels" in spy fiction, including three trilogies and a prequel featuring Bernard Samson.