Norah Lofts

Last updated
Norah Lofts Norah Lofts.jpg
Norah Lofts

Norah Lofts, néeNorah Ethel Robinson, (27 August 1904 10 September 1983) was a 20th-century best-selling British author. She wrote more than fifty books specialising in historical fiction, but she also wrote non-fiction and short stories. Many of her novels, including her Suffolk Trilogy, follow the history of specific houses and their residents over several generations.

Contents

Personal life

Northgate House, Bury St Edmunds, home to Lofts from 1955 until her death in 1983 Bury St Edmunds - Northgate House.jpg
Northgate House, Bury St Edmunds, home to Lofts from 1955 until her death in 1983

Lofts was born in Shipdham, Norfolk to Isaac Robinson and Ethel Garner, and grew up in Bury St Edmunds where was educated at Guildhall Feoffment Girls School and the County Grammar School for Girls in the town. In 1925 she attained a teaching diploma from Norwich Training College. [1]

She married Geoffrey Lofts in 1931 [2] with whom she had one son, Clive. Geoffrey died in 1948. [3] Lofts wed her second husband, a technical consultant to the British Sugar Corporation at the town's sugar beet factory, Robert Jorisch in 1949. [4] [5] She stood as a Town Councillor for Bury St Edmunds from 1957 to 1962, [6] where she died in 1983.

Work

She also wrote under the pen names Peter Curtis and Juliet Astley. Lofts chose to release her murder-mystery novels under the pen name Peter Curtis because she did not want the readers of her historic fiction to pick up a murder-mystery novel and expect classic Lofts historical fiction. However, the murders still show characteristic Lofts elements. Most of her historical novels fall into two general categories: biographical novels about queens, among them Anne Boleyn, Isabella I of Castile, and Catherine of Aragon; and novels set in East Anglia centered around the fictitious town of Baildon (patterned largely on Bury St. Edmunds). Her creation of this fictitious area of England is reminiscent of Thomas Hardy's creation of "Wessex"; and her use of recurring characters such that the protagonist of one novel appears as a secondary character in others is even more reminiscent of William Faulkner's work set in "Yoknapatawpha County," Mississippi. Lofts' work set in East Anglia in the 1930s and 1940s shows great concern with the very poor in society and their inability to change their conditions. Her approach suggests an interest in the social reformism that became a feature of British post-war society.

She was not afraid to tackle potentially sensitive subjects; her version of the Nativity, with backstories of Mary, Joseph, the Magi, the shepherds - even the innkeeper - is rendered in How Far To Bethlehem? as is the ill-fated Donner Party expedition in Road to Revelation (aka Winter Harvest).

Several of her novels were turned into films. Jassy was filmed as Jassy (1947) starring Margaret Lockwood and Dennis Price. You're Best Alone was filmed as Guilt Is My Shadow (1950). The Devil's Own (also known as The Little Wax Doll and Catch As Catch Can) was filmed as The Witches (1966). The film 7 Women (1966) was directed by John Ford and very loosely based on the story "Chinese Finale" by Norah Lofts. Her books still have a devoted international readership, notably on the Goodreads website. [7]

Honours

In the United States, she won a National Book Award for I Met a Gypsy, voted by members of the American Booksellers Association. Specifically, her collection was "the 'forgotten book' of the year [1936] that least deserved to be forgotten" (subsequently termed the Bookseller Discovery). Alfred Knopf represented her at the ceremony. [8]

Bibliography

Novels

Short story collections

Other publications

Novels published under the pseudonym Juliet Astley

Novels published under the pseudonym Peter Curtis

Related Research Articles

Alan Sillitoe English writer

Alan Sillitoe was an English writer and one of the so-called "angry young men" of the 1950s. He disliked the label, as did most of the other writers to whom it was applied. He is best known for his debut novel Saturday Night and Sunday Morning and his early short story "The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner", both of which were adapted into films.

Doubleday is an American publishing company. It was founded as the Doubleday & McClure Company in 1897 and was the largest in the United States by 1947. It published the work of mostly U.S. authors under a number of imprints and distributed them through its own stores. In 2009 Doubleday merged with Knopf Publishing Group to form the Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, which is now part of Penguin Random House. In 2019, the official website presents Doubleday as an imprint, not a publisher.

David John Morris, known as Dave Morris, is a British author of gamebooks, novels and comics and a designer of computer games and role-playing games.

Edward Michael Bankes Green was a British theologian, Anglican priest, Christian apologist and author of more than 50 books.

Edmund Cooper was an English poet and prolific writer of speculative fiction, romances, technical essays, several detective stories, and a children's book. These were published under his own name and several pen names.

Malorie Blackman British writer

Malorie Blackman is a British writer who held the position of Children's Laureate from 2013 to 2015. She primarily writes literature and television drama for children and young adults. She has used science fiction to explore social and ethical issues. Her critically and popularly acclaimed Noughts and Crosses series uses the setting of a fictional dystopia to explore racism. Her book New Windmills Spring sold out within a week of publishing it.

Hodder & Stoughton British publisher

Hodder & Stoughton is a British publishing house, now an imprint of Hachette.

Paul Stewart (writer)

Paul Stewart is a writer of children's books, best known for three series written in collaboration with the illustrator Chris Riddell: The Edge Chronicles, the Free Lance novels, and the Far Flung Adventures series. Stewart lives in the British seaside city of Brighton with his wife and children.

Claude Voilier was a French teacher, journalist, translator, and a prolific author, having written over 600 short stories for various French magazines, and about 400 stories for children. In the English-speaking world, she is best known for her continuation of Enid Blyton's The Famous Five series of children's adventure novels.

This is a bibliography of works by Damon Knight.

Gillian Tindall is a British writer and historian. Among her books are City of Gold: The Biography of Bombay (1992) and Celestine: Voices from a French Village (1997). Her novel Fly Away Home won the Somerset Maugham Award in 1972. From the 1960s to the early 1990s, Tindall worked as a journalist, writing stories for The Guardian, the Evening Standard, The Times, and The Independent – and for many years she was a regular guest on the BBC Radio 3 arts discussion programme, Critics' Forum. Since 1963 she has lived in Kentish Town, North London.

Nigel Tranter wrote over 100 books. He is best known for his Scottish historical novels and his five-volume work The Fortified House in Scotland, but he also produced many other novels, particularly early on in his career.

Transworld Publishers

Transworld Publishers Ltd. is a British publishing house in Ealing, London that is a division of Penguin Random House, one of the world's largest mass media groups. It was established in 1950 as the British division of American company Bantam Books. It publishes fiction and non fiction titles by various best-selling authors including Val Wood under several different imprints. Hardbacks are either published under the Doubleday or the Bantam Press imprint, whereas paperbacks are published under the Black Swan, Bantam or Corgi imprint.

W. A. Harbinson British author

William Allen Harbinson, who writes under the name W. A. Harbinson, is a British author. He is best known for his Projekt Saucer five-volume series of science fiction novels. He also writes war novels, many with a special forces theme, under the pseudonym Shaun Clarke.

Random House of Canada Canadian book distributor

Random House of Canada was the Canadian distributor for Random House, Inc. from 1944 until 2013. On July 1, 2013, it amalgamated with Penguin Canada to become Penguin Random House Canada.

Janet Burroway is an American author. Burroway's published oeuvre includes eight novels, memoirs, short stories, poems, translations, plays, two children's books, and two how-to books about the craft of writing. Her novel The Buzzards was nominated for the 1970 Pulitzer Prize. Raw Silk is her most acclaimed novel thus far. While Burroway's literary fame is due to her novels, the book that has won her the widest readership is Writing Fiction: A Guide to Narrative Craft, first published in 1982. Now in its 10th edition, the book is used as a textbook in writing programs throughout the United States.

Margot Peters is an American novelist and biographer, including of Charlotte Brontë, George Bernard Shaw, Mrs. Patrick Campbell, the Drews and Barrymores, May Sarton, Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne. She is a recipient of the Ambassador Book Award.

<i>Hard Landing</i> (novel)

Hard Landing is a 2004 thriller novel by British author Stephen Leather. Published in 2004 by Hodder & Stoughton, it is the first book in the Dan ‘Spider’ Shepherd series. Hard Landing is an international bestseller and is available in ebook and paperback.

Jeffrey Meyers is an American biographer, literary, art and film critic. He currently lives in Berkeley, California.

John Collis Snaith was an English first-class cricketer active 1900 who played for Nottinghamshire. He was born in Nottingham; died in Hampstead. He was also a novelist, writing as J. C. Snaith, and played in the Authors Cricket Club alongside fellow authors A. A. Milne and P. G. Wodehouse among others.

References

  1. Reilley, John (2015-12-25). Twentieth Century Crime & Mystery Writers. Springer. ISBN   978-1-349-81366-7.
  2. "Geoffrey Lofts, England and Wales Marriage Registration Index 1933". Family Search.
  3. Saltmarsh, Abigail (2016-12-23). "A House That Inspired a British Novelist". The New York Times. ISSN   0362-4331 . Retrieved 2020-06-11.
  4. "Robert Jorisch, England and Wales Marriage Registration Index 1949". Family Search.
  5. "Friday 19 February 1954". Bury Free Press. p. 1.
  6. "Norah Lofts". Suffolk Archives. Retrieved 2020-06-11.
  7. "Norah Lofts". Goodreads. Retrieved August 19, 2018.
  8. "5 Honors Awarded on the Year's Books: Authors of Preferred Volumes Hailed at Luncheon of Booksellers Group", The New York Times, 26 February 1937, page 23. ProQuest Historical Newspapers The New York Times (1851-2007).