Bill Hopkins (novelist)
Bill Hopkins (5 May 1928 – 6 May 2011) was a Welsh novelist and journalist, and has been grouped with the Angry Young Men. His father was Ted Hopkins, a popular stage performer; his mother Violet Brodrick. He is survived by his German-born wife, Carla Hopkins, the proprietress of the antiques store they ran together for many years.
His one published novel is a philosophical thriller, The Divine and The Decay (London, MacGibbon and Kee, 1957), also published as The Leap! In this story, the fate of Britain hangs in the balance. Political parties are jockeying for power. A recently formed political party (the New Britain Party) is led by a visionary firebrand, Peter Plowart, who has planned the assassination of his arch-rival, the leader of his own political party. As he anticipates the assassination, he realises he must establish an alibi to show that he was somewhere else when it all comes to pass. By examining the statistics tables of a meticulously researched government census, he decides to make a little trip to a little island off the coast of Britain (modelled on one of the smaller Channel Islands) and give a speech to the citizens there. If everything were timed properly, he could rely quite simply on the inhabitants remembering him visiting them, and they would vouch for him being with them when the actual assassination took place. His encounter with the islanders, however, leads him to question and test his "will power".
This Nietzschean novel is noteworthy in that the publisher voluntarily recalled all known copies of the work, and had them destroyed, as a result of critical allegations of fascistic themes. Surviving copies of the publisher's initial print run are rare and can command prices in three figures (G.B. pounds or U.S. dollars in the year 2007). Although there exist 1991 reprints under the title "The Leap", these do not command the same price.
Hopkins was also the author of "Ways Without Precedent", an essay collected in an anthology of pieces by writers identified as Angry Young Men (and women), Declaration, edited by Tom Maschler (London, MacGibbon and Kee, 1957). He has also written some poetry. In the mid-1980s, he edited and published The Monitor (originally titled the Arab Monitor}, employing artist Cliff G Hanley to design the covers. This was a news magazine which concentrated on the Middle East.
- Holroyd, Stuart (1975). Contraries: A Personal Progression. London: The Bodley Head Ltd.
- Interview with Bill Hopkins on YouTube.
- Photographs of Bill Hopkins by Ida Kar at the National Portrait Gallery site.