Honor Tracy

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Honor Tracy is the pseudonym of Lilbush Wingfield (October 19, 1913 – June 13, 1989), who was a British writer, born at Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk.[1]

Tracy joined the Women's Auxiliary Air Force from 1939 to 1941, working in the intelligence department, then she was attached to the Ministry of Information, from 1941 to 1945, as a Japanese specialist. She worked for The Observer newspaper as a columnist and as a long-time foreign correspondent. She wrote also for the Sunday Times and for the British Broadcasting Corporation.

Tracy is best known as a travel writer. Her novels satirise British-Irish relations and Ireland itself with wit and occasionally bitterness. Her best-known novels are The Straight and Narrow Path (1956), The Quiet End of Evening (1972), and The Ballad of Castle Reef (1979). Her best-known travel book is Winter in Castille (1973).

She settled in Achill Island, Co. Mayo, Ireland and died in 1989 in Oxford, England.[1]

Betjeman hoax[edit]

A. N. Wilson's biography of Sir John Betjeman, published in August 2006, included a letter to Tracy which purported to be by Betjeman detailing a previously unknown love affair. They had worked together at the Admiralty during the war. The letter turned out to be a hoax on Wilson, containing an acrostic spelling out an insulting message to him.[2]


Travel works[edit]

Her travel works include:

  • Kakemono: A Sketchbook of Postwar Japan (1950)
  • Mind You, I've Said Nothing! (1953)
  • Silk Hats and No Breakfast (Random House, 1957)
  • Spanish Leaves (1964)
  • Winter in Castile (1973)
  • The Heart of England (1983)


Tracy's novels include:

  • The Deserters (1954)
  • The Straight and Narrow Path (London, Methuen / New York, Random House 1956)
  • The Prospects Are Pleasing (1958)
  • A Number of Things (Methuen / Random House, 1960)
  • A Season of Mists (Methuen / Random House, 1961)
  • The First Day of Friday (Methuen / Random House, 1963)
  • Men at Work (Methuen / Random House, 1967)
  • The Beauty of the World (Methuen / Random House, 1967)
  • Settled in Chambers (Methuen / Random House 1968)
  • Butterflies of the Province (New York, Random House /London, Eyre Methuen, 1970)
  • The Quiet End of Evening (Random House / Eyre Methuen, 1972)
  • The Ballad of Castle Reef (1979)

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ a b Flint, Peter B. (June 16, 1989). "Honor Tracy, Travel Writer, Is Dead at 75 - Obituary - NYTimes.com". The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-01-17. 
  2. ^ Brooks, Richard (2006-09-03). "Betjeman biographer confesses to literary hoax". London: The Sunday Times. Retrieved 2006-09-25.