|Born||30 June 1908|
Victoria Park, Manchester, England
|Died||10 July 2003 95) (aged|
Buxted, East Sussex, England
|Spouse||Jean Mary Williamson (1939–1992)|
Winston Mawdsley Graham OBE, born Winston Grime (30 June 1908 – 10 July 2003), was an English novelist best known for the Poldark series of historical novels set in Cornwall, though he also wrote numerous other works, including thrillers, historical novels, short stories, non-fiction and plays.Winston Graham was the author's pseudonym until he changed his name by deed poll from Grime to Graham on 7 May 1947.
Graham was born in Victoria Park, Manchester, on 30 June 1908. As a child, Winston contracted pneumonia, and on medical advice was educated at a local day school rather than Manchester Grammar School which his father had in mind for him.Graham's father, Albert Grime, was a prosperous tea importer and grocer, but became incapacitated by a stroke.
When he was 17 years old, Winston moved to Perranporth, Cornwall, where he lived for 34 years.He had wanted to be a writer from an early age and, following the death of his father, he was supported by his mother while he wrote novels at home in longhand and attempted to get them published.
In September 1939, Graham married Jean Williamson, having first met her in 1926 when she was 13 years old. She often helped Graham with ideas for his books, and the character of Demelza, in his Poldark series, was based in part on her. Graham's daughter said, “Father was the author but my mother helped with the details because she was very observant. She saw everything and remembered it all."Jean died in 1992.
During his youth, Graham was a keen tennis player and recorded in his diaries how many sets he played each day. He lived in Perranporth from October 1925 until January 1960, then briefly, during the summer of 1960, in the south of France before finally settling in East Sussex. He was a member of the Society of Authors from 1945, chairman of the Society's Management Committee from 1967 to 1969and a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. In 1983, he was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire.
Graham died on 10 July 2003 at the age of 95, at his house, Abbotswood, East Sussex.His autobiography, Memoirs of a Private Man, was published in September of that year.
The Royal Cornwall Museum in Truro, Cornwall had 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 celebrate the centenary of his birth, coinciding with re-publication of the Poldark novels by Pan Macmillan.Additionally, the Winston Graham Historical Prize was initiated as part of the Centenary Celebrations, funded by a legacy from the author and supported by Pan Macmillan. It is awarded for a work of unpublished fiction, preferably with an association with Cornwall. Details can be obtained from the Royal Cornwall Museum.
The majority of Winston Graham's manuscripts and papers have been donated to the Royal Institution 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 and elsewhere.
Graham's 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 succeeded by eleven further titles, the last of which, Bella Poldark, was published in 2002. The series was set in Cornwall, especially in and near Perranporth where Graham lived for more than three decades (1925–1960).
In the 1941 spy thriller Night Journey, set mostly in Mussolini's Italy, the protagonist feels that Britain was likely to lose the war but is determined to go on fighting against all the odds - which was likely Graham's own feeling at the time.
Graham was also an accomplished author of suspense novels and, during the course of his life, wrote thirty novels (in addition to the twelve Poldark books) as well as a volume of short stories (The Japanese Girl, 1971) and three non-fiction works. Other than the Poldark novels, Graham's most successful works were Marnie , a suspense thriller published in 1961 and The Walking Stick , published in 1967.In 1955, Graham's novel The Little Walls won the Crime Writers' Association's first Crime Novel of the Year Award (then called The Crossed Red Herrings Award, later The Gold Dagger).
In 1972 Graham published "The Spanish Armadas", a factual account of the sixteenth-century Anglo-Spanish conflict. (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.) The same is also the subject of a historical novel, The Grove of Eagles, set in Elizabethan Cornwall and also depicting the foundation and growth of Falmouth.
Graham wrote at least four plays, three of which - Seven Suspected, Values and Shadow Play (renamed Circumstantial Evidence) - were produced, with the latter professionally produced at Salisbury in 1978 and at Guildford, Richmond and Brighton in 1979. According to Graham, it "missed London by a hair". Seven Suspected was first performed in Perranporth on 30 May 1933 with both the author and his wife-to-be Jean in the cast. Values was a one-act play performed by seven members of Perranporth Women's Institute at a Truro drama festival in 1936.
Graham's books have been translated into 29 languages.His autobiography Memoirs of a Private Man was published by Macmillan in September 2003, two months after his death.
The first seven Poldark novels were adapted as a BBC television series broadcast in the UK between 1975 and 1977, which garnered audiences of about 14 million viewers.The series was so successful that some vicars rescheduled or cancelled church services rather than have them clash with the broadcast of Poldark episodes. Graham disliked early episodes of Poldark so much (because of the portrayal of Demelza as promiscuous and 'loose') that he tried to have the series cancelled, but could do nothing about it.
The Poldark novels have been adapted for television on two other occasions.
Graham's novel Marnie (1961), a thriller, was filmed by Alfred Hitchcock in 1964, with Tippi Hedren and Sean Connery in the leads.
Marnie (1961) was also adapted as a play by Sean O'Connor in 2001 and an opera written by Nico Muhly which premiered in November, 2017. Both the play and the opera retained the novel's British setting and bleak ending.
Five of Graham's other books have been filmed:
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Poldark is a series of historical novels by Winston Graham, published from 1945 to 1953 and continued from 1973 to 2002.
Perranporth is a seaside resort town on the north coast of Cornwall, England, United Kingdom. It is 1 mile east of the St Agnes Heritage Coastline, and around 8 miles south-west of Newquay. Perranporth and its 3 miles (5 km) long beach face the Atlantic Ocean. It has a population of 3,066, and is the largest settlement in the civil parish of Perranzabuloe. It has an electoral ward in its own name, whose population was 4,270 in the 2011 census.
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Anthony Robin Ellis is a British actor best known for his role as Captain Ross Poldark in 29 episodes of the BBC classic series Poldark, adapted from a series of books by the late British author Winston Graham. He also appeared in Fawlty Towers, Cluedo, The Good Soldier, Elizabeth R, The Moonstone, Bel Ami, Sense and Sensibility, The Casebook of Sherlock Holmes, She Loves Me and Blue Remembered Hills. In 2015–17 and 2019 he appeared in Poldark as Reverend Halse.
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The Crime Writers' Association (CWA) is a specialist authors’ group in the United Kingdom, most notable for its Gold Dagger award for the best crime novel of the year. The Association also promotes the crime fiction genre by publicising literary festivals and other writing events, establishing links with libraries, booksellers and other writer organisations, both in the UK such as the Society of Authors, and overseas, and enabling members to network at its annual conference and through its regional chapters as well as through dedicated social media channels and private website. Members' events and general news items are published on the CWA website which also features Find An Author where CWA members are listed and information provided about themselves, their books and their awards.
Marnie is an English crime novel, written by Winston Graham and first published in 1961. It has been adapted as a film, a stage play and an opera.
Poldark Mine is a tourist attraction near the town of Helston in Cornwall, England, UK. It lies within the Wendron Mining District of the Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape World Heritage Site. Its features include underground guided tours through ancient tin mine workings, a museum of industrial heritage, mining equipment and Cornish social history, a scheduled ancient monument and riverside gardens.
Cornwall's rugged landscape and scenery has been used by film and television companies as a backdrop for their productions.
The Walking Stick is a 1970 British crime drama film directed by Eric Till and starring David Hemmings and Samantha Eggar. It was based on the 1967 novel of the same title by Winston Graham. "Cavatina" was used as the film's theme, eight years before the piece became famous as the theme for The Deer Hunter (1978).
Poldark is the original version of the BBC television series adaptation of the novels of the same title written by Winston Graham. The adaptation was first transmitted in the UK between 1975 and 1977. The production covered all seven novels, which Graham had written up to this time.
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Poldark is a British historical drama television series based on the novels of the same title by Winston Graham and starring Aidan Turner in the lead role. The series was written and adapted by Debbie Horsfield for the BBC, and directed by several directors throughout its run. Set between 1781 and 1801, the plot follows the titular character on his return to Cornwall after the American War of Independence in 1783.
The Grove of Eagles is a 1963 historical novel by the British writer Winston Graham. It is set in Cornwall during the Elizabethan era around the time of the Spanish Armada. The period was of particular interest to Graham and he wrote a non-fiction book The Spanish Armadas in 1972.
Ross Poldark is the first of twelve novels in Poldark, a series of historical novels by Winston Graham. It was published in 1945.