James Kennaway

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James Kennaway
Born(1928-06-05)5 June 1928
Auchterarder, Scotland
Died21 December 1968(1968-12-21) (aged 40)
Years active1945-1968[1]

James Kennaway (5 June 1928 – 21 December 1968) was a Scottish novelist and screenwriter. He was born in Auchterarder in Perthshire and attended Glenalmond College.


His best known novel was his first, Tunes of Glory (1956), which was turned into a well-known film of the same name starring Alec Guinness and John Mills. It was a realistic work, set in the army just after the Second World War, and drawing to some extent on Kennaway's own experiences. This was not typical of his later output, some of which was more experimental in nature.

His other works were Household Ghosts (1961), The Mindbenders (1963), The Bells of Shoreditch (1963), Some Gorgeous Accident (1967), The Cost of Living like This (1969) and Silence (1972) - the final two works were posthumous. Household Ghosts was adapted as a feature film entitled Country Dance, while a short story, The Dollar Bottom, was adapted as a short film, winning an Academy Award in 1981.

A stage adaptation of Some Gorgeous Accident was presented at the Assembly Rooms as part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in August 2010.

He was also a successful screenwriter. His films include Violent Playground (1958), Tunes of Glory (1960), The Mind Benders (1963) and Battle of Britain (1969).

Kennaway died of a heart attack while driving home to Lechlade, Gloucestershire from London at the age of 40.[2][3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ NLS inventory of fonds
  2. ^ Plummer, Christopher In Spite of Myself: A Memoir Random House of Canada (1969) p. 568 ISBN 978-0-307-39680-8
  3. ^ "James Kennaway, Novelist, 40, Dead". New York Times. 25 December 1968.

Further reading[edit]

  • Susan Kennaway, The Kennaway Papers (Jonathan Cape) 1981 ISBN 0-224-01865-5
  • Trevor Royle, James & Jim, A Biography of James Kennaway (Mainstream Publishing) 1983 ISBN 0-906391-46-6

External links[edit]