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30 June 1908|
Victoria Park, Manchester, England
|Died||10 July 2003
|Spouse||Jean Mary Williamson (1939-1992)|
Graham's father, Albert Grime, was a prosperous tea-importer and grocer. His second son, Winston, was born at 66 Langdale Road, Victoria Park, Manchester on 30 June 1908 at 8 a.m. Winston contracted pneumonia as a child and on medical advice was educated at a local day school, rather than Manchester Grammar School which his father had in mind for him. When he was 17 years old, he moved to Perranporth, Cornwall. He had wanted to be a writer from an early age and following the death of his father who had been incapacitated by a stroke, he was supported by his mother while he wrote novels at home in longhand and attempted to get them published. His 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 a series of 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 (1925-1959).
The first seven Poldark novels were turned into a BBC television series first broadcast in the UK between 1975 and 1977, which gained audiences of about 14 million viewers. It was so successful that some vicars rescheduled or cancelled church services rather than try to have them clash with the transmission of the Poldark series.
Other than the Poldark novels, Graham's most successful work was Marnie (1961), a thriller filmed by Alfred Hitchcock with Tippi Hedren and Sean Connery in the leads. The novel was also adapted as a play by Sean O'Connor in 2001 and returned the story to its original British setting and bleak ending. Five of Graham's other books were filmed, including The Walking Stick, Night Without Stars and Take My Life.
Graham was an accomplished author of suspense novels and during the course of his life wrote thirty-two novels (in addition to the twelve Poldark books). A 1941 spy thriller, Night Journey, set in the contemporary Nazi-occupied Europe captures some of the spirit of the time, with the protagonist believing that Britain was perhaps going to lose the war but is determined to "go down fighting". Graham also wrote a history of The Spanish Armadas and an historical novel, The Grove of Eagles, set in that period. (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.) His books have been translated into 24 languages.
Graham married Jean Williamson in September 1939, having first met her in 1926 when she was 13 years old. She died in December 1992. During his youth he was a keen tennis player, recording in his diaries how many sets he played each day. He lived in Perranporth from 1925 until 1959, and briefly in the south of France during 1960, then settling in East Sussex. He was Chairman of the Society of Authors and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, and in 1983 was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire.
Graham's autobiography, Memoirs of a Private Man, was published by Macmillan in 2003. To celebrate the centenary of his birth, 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, coinciding with re-publication of the Poldark novels by Pan Macmillan.
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 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 Institute 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.
- 1945 - Ross Poldark (original U.S. title: The Renegade)
- 1946 - Demelza
- 1950 - Jeremy Poldark (original U.S. title: Venture Once More)
- 1953 - Warleggan (original U.S. title: The Last Gamble)
- 1973 - The Black Moon
- 1976 - The Four Swans
- 1977 - The Angry Tide
- 1981 - The Stranger from the Sea
- 1983 - Poldark's Cornwall (non-fiction)
- 1982 - The Miller's Dance
- 1984 - The Loving Cup
- 1990 - The Twisted Sword
- 2002 - Bella Poldark
- 1934 - The House with the Stained Glass Windows
- 1935 - Into the Fog
- 1935 - The Riddle of John Rowe
- 1936 - Without Motive
- 1937 - The Dangerous Pawn
- 1938 - The Giant's Chair (revised edition, 1975, as Woman in the Mirror)
- 1939 - Keys of Chance
- 1939 - Strangers Meeting
- 1940 - No Exit
- 1941 - Night Journey (revised edition, 1966)
- 1942 - My Turn Next (revised edition, 1988, as Cameo)
- 1944 - The Merciless Ladies (revised edition, 1979)
- 1945 - The Forgotten Story
- 1947 - Take My Life
- 1949 - Cordelia
- 1950 - Night Without Stars
- 1953 - Fortune Is a Woman
- 1955 - The Little Walls (Gold Dagger Award)
- 1956 - The Sleeping Partner (filmed as Sócio de Alcova / Carnival of Crime)
- 1957 - Greek Fire
- 1959 - The Tumbled House
- 1961 - Marnie
- 1963 - The Grove of Eagles
- 1965 - After the Act
- 1967 - The Walking Stick
- 1970 - Angel, Pearl and Little God
- 1971 - The Japanese Girl (short stories)
- 1972 - The Spanish Armadas (non-fiction)
- 1986 - The Green Flash
- 1992 - Stephanie
- 1995 - Tremor
- 1998 - The Ugly Sister
- 2003 - Memoirs of a Private Man (autobiography)
- Winston Graham obituary at The Independent. Retrieved 9 March 2015
- Winston Graham obituary at The Telegraph. Retrieved 9 March 2015
- "The Winston Graham and Poldark Literary Society". Retrieved 17 August 2012.
- Barker, Dennis (14 July 2003). "Obituary:Winston Graham, The Guardian, 14 July 2003". London. Retrieved 17 August 2012.
- "In Profile ~ A Winston Graham Reader".
- "Winston Graham Prize". Retrieved 17 August 2012.
- Ballantine edition (1977), ISBN 0-345-27731-7
- Ballantine edition (1977), ISBN 0-345-27733-3
- Ballantine edition (1977), ISBN 0-345-27734-1