Harry Bloom

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Harry Bloom
Born Solomon Harris Bloom
(1913-01-01)1 January 1913
Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa
Died 28 July 1981(1981-07-28) (aged 68)
Canterbury, Kent, United Kingdom
Occupation Journalist, novelist, political activist
Nationality South African

Harry Saul Bloom (1 January 1913 – 28 July 1981) was a South African journalist, novelist, and lecturer.

Early life and career[edit]

Solomon Harris Bloom was born into a Jewish South African family. He was educated at the University of the Witwatersrand, obtaining his law degree in 1937. He subsequently became an advocate in Johannesburg. He married Beryl Cynthia Gordon in 1940 and they moved to London, living in Old Compton Street during the blitz. Writing under the pseudonym Walter Storm, and his wife under Beryl Storm, he worked as a war correspondent during the Second World War, and covered the Nuremberg trials after the war. They returned to Durban, South Africa, where their first child, Peter, was born in 1944, but he died aged 6 weeks.

Beryl and Harry returned to England on the troop ship "Andes" arriving Liverpool on 25 March 1945. The couple moved to Czechoslovakia. Together they wrote the book - "We meet the Czechoslovaks", an account of their early years in Czechoslovakia, under the pseudonyms of Walter and Beryl Storm.. Beryl later played an active role in editing, advising and typing the manuscripts for his subsequent books. In October 1948, their daughter Susan (the photographer and jewellery designer Susan Storm Bloom) was born in Prague. Fearful for their security as Stalinism gained strength in post-war Eastern Europe, they returned to South Africa with toddler Susan, and settled in Bramley, Johannesburg. Their son Stephen Jack Bloom, (photographer and author Steve Bloom,) was born here in 1953. In 1957, a few months after Bloom's first book, "Episode (in the Transvaal) which criticised apartheid, was published, the family moved to Cape Town.

Life and work in apartheid South Africa[edit]

Bloom's first novel, Episode, which was later retitled Transvaal Episode, was published in 1956. This book, an account of an uprising in the fictional township of Nelstroom in the aftermath of the 1952–53 African National Congress defiance campaign, was banned by the South African government for being dangerous to the safety of the apartheid state. The novel won the British Authors' Club Prize for the best novel of 1956, but Bloom was denied an exit permit to travel to England to receive the prize. The book was dedicated[1] to four people: his wife Beryl, who provided editorial assistance and typed the manuscript; Bram Fischer, Bloom's close friend who defended Nelson Mandela at the Rivonia Trial; Archbishop Trevor Huddleston, and Guy Routh. Bloom worked with Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg in the 1950s. During the state of emergency that followed the Sharpeville massacre in 1960, he was detained for forty-five days without charges or trial, first at Roeland Street Prison and later at Worcester Prison near Cape Town. During his detention, Bloom began working on his second novel, Whittaker's Wife (1962).[2] He also wrote the play for the musical King Kong: An African Jazz Opera (1961), a tragedy of a black boxer from the ghetto, that reached a multiracial audience both locally and internationally. Episode was republished in 1981.

Exile and work in England[edit]

In 1963, Bloom left South Africa for Kenya, mainly due to his opposition to apartheid. His wife Beryl and children Stephen and Susan stayed behind in South Africa. He went on to London where he met Sonia Copeland, a journalist and writer. In 1967, he was appointed Senior Lecturer in Law at the University of Kent, marrying Sonia Copeland in Canterbury. With founding Law Professor, Patrick Fitzgerald, he helped to set up the first Law Department at the University which was rooted in an interdisciplinary ethos. Bloom went on to collaborate with Igor Alexander, now Emeritus Professor at Imperial College, on the societal impact of computer networks and then worked for a newly set up Unit for Legal Research in Computer and Communications, which considered the legal protection of computer software and retrieval of statutes. This involved meetings with the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), one of the specialized agencies of the United Nation, which was created in l967 "to encourage creative activity and to promote the protection of intellectual property throughout the world." Many of the components of his work, and the articles he wrote, had a significant impact in the early days of the transition from the offline into the online world. He has been remembered "as the founder of the teaching of the law affecting the media in the UK."[3]


  1. ^ Episode: Publisher: Doubleday (1955) ASIN: B000NQ1ZH8) Dedication reads: For Beryl, Bram, Guy and Trevor, who in various ways helped me write this book.
  2. ^ Bloom, Harry Whittaker's Wife, New York, Simon & Schuster, 1962.
  3. ^ "Harry Saul Bloom (1913–1981)". Computer Law & Security Review. 29: 1–3. 2013-02-28. doi:10.1016/j.clsr.2013.01.001.