D. M. Thomas

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Donald Michael Thomas, known as D. M. Thomas (born 27 January 1935), is a British novelist, poet, playwright and translator. He is best known for his novel The White Hotel (1981).


Thomas was born in Redruth, Cornwall, UK. He attended Trewirgie Primary School and Redruth Grammar School[1] before graduating with First Class Honours in English from New College, Oxford in 1959. He lived and worked in Australia and the United States before returning to his native Britain.

He published poetry and some prose in the British Science fiction magazine New Worlds (from 1968). The work that made him famous is his erotic and somewhat fantastical novel The White Hotel (1981), the story of a woman undergoing psychoanalysis, which has proved very popular in continental Europe and the United States. It was short-listed for the Booker Prize in 1981,[2] coming a close second, according to one of the judges,[3] to the winner, Salman Rushdie's Midnight's Children.[4] The author himself stated in an interview on BBC Radio Cornwall in 2015 that the Booker judges wanted to split the prize between him and Salman Rushdie, but that the Board informed them that this wasn't in the rules,[5] although the rules were indeed changed in this respect the following year. It has also elicited considerable controversy, as some of its passages are taken from Anatoly Kuznetsov's Babi Yar, a novel about the Holocaust. In general, however, Thomas's use of such "composite material" (material taken from other sources and imitations of other writers) is seen as more postmodern than plagiarist.[6]

In the 1950s, at height of the Cold War, Thomas studied Russian during his National Service. He retained a lifelong interest in Russian culture and literature. This culminated in a series of well-received translations of Russian poetry in the 1980s.



  • Orpheus in Hell (Sceptre, 1977)
  • The Flute Player (Victor Gollancz Ltd, 1979)
  • Birthstone (Gollancz, 1980)
  • The White Hotel (Viking, 1981)
  • Ararat (Gollancz, 1983)
  • Swallow (Gollancz, 1984)
  • Sphinx (Gollancz, 1986)
  • Summit (Gollancz, 1987)
  • Lying Together (Gollancz, 1990)
  • Flying in to Love (Scribner's, 1992)
  • Pictures at an Exhibition (Bloomsbury, 1993)
  • Eating Pavlova (Carroll & Graf, 1994)
  • Lady with a Laptop (Carroll & Graf, 1996)
  • Memories and Hallucinations (Gollancz, 1998)
  • Charlotte (Duck, 2000)
  • Hunters in the Snow (The Cornovia Press, 2014) ISBN 1-908878-12-6 ISBN 1-908878-19-3


  • Two Voices (Cape Goliard, 1968)
  • The Granite Kingdom (Bradford Barton Ltd, Truro, 1970). An anthology of poems about Cornwall, edited by D. M. Thomas
  • Logan Stone (Cape Goliard, 1971)
  • The Shaft (Arc, 1973)
  • Love and Other Deaths (Elek Books, 1975)
  • The Honeymoon Voyage (Secker and Warburg, 1978)
  • Protest (D. M. Thomas and Reg Boulton, Hereford, 1980)
  • Dreaming in Bronze (Secker and Warburg, 1981)
  • The Puberty Tree (Bloodaxe Books, 1992)
  • Flight and Smoke (Francis Boutle, 2010)
  • Two Countries (Francis Boutle, 2011)
  • Vintage Ghosts (Francis Boutle, 2012)
  • Mrs English and other women (Francis Boutle, 2014)
  • Corona Man: A Fictional Verse Journal in the Plague Year (The Cornovia Press, 2020) ISBN 1-908878-18-5
  • The Last Waltz: Poems (The Cornovia Press, 2021) ISBN 1-908878-22-3
  • A Child of Love and War: Verse Memoir (The Cornovia Press, 2021) ISBN 1-908878-23-1



  • Alexander Solzhenitsyn : A Century in His Life (St. Martins, 1998)
  • Bleak Hotel: The Hollywood Saga of the White Hotel (Quartet Books, 2008)


  • Hell Fire Corner (2004)


  1. ^ BBC website - Donald Michael Thomas
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2 December 2010. Retrieved 21 January 2011.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ "The Times & The Sunday Times". entertainment.timesonline.co.uk. Retrieved 29 November 2016.
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2 December 2010. Retrieved 21 January 2011.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  5. ^ "Interview with the author on BBC Radio Cornwall (starting at 5:38)". twitter.com. Retrieved 25 July 2020.
  6. ^ Felder, L., D M Thomas - The Plagiarism Controversy in Dictionary of Literary Biography Yearbook, 1982

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