Tom Hanlin

Last updated

Tom Hanlin
Tom Hanlin.JPG
Born(1907-08-28)28 August 1907
Armadale, West Lothian
Died7 April 1953(1953-04-07) (aged 45)
Occupation Miner, writer
Notable worksOnce in Every Lifetime

Tom Hanlin (28 August 1907 – 7 April 1953) was a Scottish fiction writer, known for writing a number of novels which were influential and sold widely.



Hanlin was born in Armadale, West Lothian on 28 August 1907. [1] [2] At the age of 14 he left school and worked on a farm for a year, then got a job at a mine where he worked for the next twenty years. [1] While working as a miner he began to study at a journalism school in Glasgow. [1] After a workplace accident in 1945, he spent three months in the Royal Infirmary, and he began to write stories and sell them, thus realising his childhood dream. [1]

Hanlin died at home on 7 April 1953, after developing heart and breathing problems. [1] [3]


During his lifetime, Hanlin wrote over thirty short stories, several novels and essays, and eight radio plays, two of which were broadcast. [1] Once in Every Lifetime , published in 1945, was his most popular novel, selling 250,000 copies in the United Kingdom in the first three weeks of publication. [4] [5] It also won the £500 first prize in the Big Ben Books Competition, [4] [6] and was translated into more than a dozen languages. [1]

Once in Every Lifetime was serialised in Woman's Home Companion , [1] and a radio version was later broadcast on BBC Radio. [1] Norman Collins, writing in the Observer, wrote that "his novel is an idyll of young love that somehow became sour and unlovely amid the grim landscape of the pitheads. It is brief, moving in places, almost unbearably so, and often beautiful. In short Mr. Hanlin is a remarkable fellow." [7] John Steinbeck also spoke enthusiastically of the author, declaring the book "excellent." [8]

In his writing Hanlin draws on the themes of love and religion, but always in the context of the gritty realism and poverty of life in a small mining town. The Scotsman review of The Miracle at Cardenrigg notes "Tom Hanlin uses a miraculously averted pit disaster to bring into sharp focus the life of a Scottish mining community and to present his Catholic and predominantly tragic view of earthly life." [9]

Short stories and articles




Further reading

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">John Steinbeck</span> American writer (1902–1968)

John Ernst Steinbeck was an American writer. He won the 1962 Nobel Prize in Literature "for his realistic and imaginative writings, combining as they do sympathetic humor and keen social perception". He has been called "a giant of American letters."

<i>The Grapes of Wrath</i> 1939 novel by John Steinbeck

The Grapes of Wrath is an American realist novel written by John Steinbeck and published in 1939. The book won the National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize for fiction, and it was cited prominently when Steinbeck was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1962.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Josephine Tey</span> Scottish author (1896–1952)

Josephine Tey was a pseudonym used by Elizabeth MacKintosh, a Scottish author. Her novel The Daughter of Time was a detective work investigating the role of Richard III of England in the death of the Princes in the Tower, and named as the greatest crime novel of all time by the Crime Writers' Association. Her first play Richard of Bordeaux, written under another pseudonym, Gordon Daviot, starred John Gielgud in its successful West End run.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">West Lothian</span> Council area of Scotland

West Lothian is one of the 32 council areas of Scotland, and was one of its historic counties. The county was called Linlithgowshire until 1925. The historic county was bounded geographically by the Avon to the west and the Almond to the east. The modern council area occupies a larger area than the historic county. It was reshaped following local government reforms in 1975: some areas in the west were transferred to Falkirk; some areas in the east were transferred to Edinburgh; and some areas that had formerly been part of Midlothian were added to West Lothian.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">J. P. Donleavy</span> Novelist, playwright, essayist

James Patrick Donleavy was an American-Irish novelist, short story writer and playwright. His best-known work is the novel The Ginger Man, which was initially banned for obscenity.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Bathgate</span> Town in West Lothian, Scotland

Bathgate is a town in West Lothian, Scotland, 5 miles (8 km) west of Livingston and adjacent to the M8 motorway. Nearby towns are Armadale, Blackburn, Linlithgow, Livingston, West Calder and Whitburn. Situated 2 miles (3 km) south of the ancient Neolithic burial site at Cairnpapple Hill, Bathgate and the surrounding area show signs of habitation since about 3500 BC and the world's oldest known reptile fossil has been found in the town. By the 12th century, Bathgate was a small settlement, with a church at Kirkton and a castle south of the present day town centre. Local mines were established in the 17th century but the town remained small in size until the coming of the industrial revolution. By the Victorian era, Bathgate grew in prominence as an industrial and mining centre, principally associated with the coal and shale oil industries. By the early 20th century, much of the mining and heavy industry around the town had ceased and the town developed manufacturing industries, principally in vehicle production and later electronics before these factories closed in the late 20th century. Today Bathgate is the second largest town in West Lothian, after Livingston and serves as a regional commuter town within the Scottish Central Belt.

Séamus Ó Néill,, was an Irish writer from Clarkhill, Castlewellan, County Down, Ireland. Following a primary degree from Queen's University, Belfast, he did historical research under Eoin MacNeill at University College, Dublin. He spent periods as editor of the journals An Iris and Comhar.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Loretto School</span> School in Musselburgh, East Lothian, Scotland

Loretto School, founded in 1827, is an independent boarding and day school for boys and girls aged 0 to 18. The campus occupies 85 acres (34 ha) in Musselburgh, East Lothian, Scotland.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">James Aldridge</span> Australian-British writer and journalist

Harold Edward James Aldridge was an Australian-British writer and journalist. His World War II despatches were published worldwide and he was the author of over 30 books, both fiction and non-fiction works, including war and adventure novels and books for children.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Bruce Marshall (writer)</span> Scottish writer

Lieutenant-Colonel Claude Cunningham Bruce Marshall, known as Bruce Marshall was a prolific Scottish writer who wrote fiction and non-fiction books on a wide range of topics and genres. His first book, A Thief in the Night came out in 1918, possibly self-published. His last, An Account of Capers was published posthumously in 1988, a span of 70 years.

Simon Jacoblivitch Skidelsky, also known as S. J. "Skid" Simon, Seca Jascha Skidelsky, and Simon Jasha Skidelsky, was a British journalist, fiction writer and bridge player. From 1937 until his death, he collaborated with Caryl Brahms on a series of comic novels and short stories, mostly with a background of ballet or of English history. As a bridge expert, he was jointly responsible for developing the Acol system of bidding.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Johnston Press</span> Former multimedia company founded in Falkirk, Scotland

Johnston Press plc was a multimedia company founded in Falkirk, Scotland, in 1767. Its flagship titles included UK-national newspaper the i, The Scotsman, the Yorkshire Post, the Falkirk Herald, and Belfast's The News Letter. The company was operating around 200 newspapers and associated websites around the United Kingdom and the Isle of Man when it went into administration and was the purchased by JPIMedia in 2018. The Falkirk Herald was the company's first acquisition in 1846. Johnston Press's assets were transferred to JPIMedia in 2018, who continued to publish its titles.

<i>Miracles of Life</i>

Miracles of Life is an autobiography written by British writer J. G. Ballard and published in 2008.

<i>Sputnik Caledonia</i> 2008 novel by Andrew Crumey

Sputnik Caledonia (2008) is a novel by Andrew Crumey, for which he won the Northern Rock Foundation Writer’s Award, the UK's largest literary prize at the time.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ron Donachie</span> Scottish actor

Ronald Eaglesham Porter, known professionally as Ron Donachie, is a Scottish actor. He is known for starring as DI John Rebus in the BBC Radio 4 dramatisations of the Ian Rankin "Rebus" detective novels and for his supporting roles in films The Jungle Book (1994), Titanic and television series Doctor Who and Game of Thrones.

<i>The Miracle at Cardenrigg</i> Scottish novel

The Miracle at Cardenrigg is a novel by the Scottish writer Tom Hanlin published in 1949 by Victor Gollancz in the UK and Random House in the US.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Once in Every Lifetime</span> Novel by writer Tom Hanlin first published in 1945

Once in Every Lifetime is a novel by the Scottish writer Tom Hanlin first published in 1945.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Amber McNaught</span>

Amber McNaught is a British blogger, author and former local journalist. She is best known for her fashion blogs and for reviewing Susan Boyle years before she gained fame on Britain's Got Talent.

Nora Wattie (1900–1994) MBChB (Aberdeen), DPH (Cambridge) was a pioneer of social medicine, setting up Glasgow’s internationally renowned ante-natal care service.


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 "Armadale community website" . Retrieved 15 January 2013.
  2. "Statutory Births Register" . Statutory Births Register 1855-2014. ScotlandsPeople . Retrieved 20 November 2014.
  3. "Statutory Deaths Register" . Statutory Deaths Register 1855-2014. ScotlandsPeople . Retrieved 20 November 2014.
  4. 1 2 3 "Scot Miner Writes Moving Novel on Life's Beauty, Love, Horror". The Toronto Daily Star . 28 August 1949. Retrieved 15 January 2013.
  5. 1 2 "review of Once in Every Livetime". Ottawa Citizen. 10 November 1945. Retrieved 15 January 2013.
  6. 1 2 "winners of Big Ben book prize". The Manchester Guardian. 26 November 1944.
  7. 1 2 "review of Once in Every Lifetime". The Observer . 23 September 1945.
  8. 1 2 Steinbeck, John (1988). Conversations with John Steinbeck. ISBN   9780878053605 . Retrieved 19 January 2013.
  9. 1 2 "review of The Miracle at Cardenrigg". The Scotsman . 14 July 1949.
  10. "West Lothian Council Arts Document". West Lothian Council. Retrieved 15 January 2013.
  11. "review of Once in Every Lifetime". The Scotsman. 4 October 1945.
  12. "review of Once in Every Lifetime". The Guardian . 26 November 1944.
  13. "review of The Miracle at Cardenrigg". The Guardian. 15 July 1949.
  14. "review of The Miracle at Cardenrigg". The Observer. 10 July 1949.
  15. "review of The Miracle at Caredenrigg". The Times Literary Supplement . 22 July 1949.
  16. "Disaster And Faith; Miracle at Caredenrigg". The New York Times . 28 August 1949.
  17. "The Saturday Review". 9 November 1946.{{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  18. "The New Masses". 26 March 1946.{{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  19. "Saturday Review, August 27, 1949".{{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)