Jonathan Smith (novelist)

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Jonathan Smith
Born1942 (age 78–79)
Gloucestershire, England
OccupationNovelist, playwright, teacher
GenreHistorical fiction

Jonathan Smith (born 1942) is an English novelist, playwright, writer and teacher. A career English teacher, best known for his novels, he has also written many radio plays.

Early life and education[edit]

Smith was born in Gloucestershire to a family of teachers originally from the Rhondda Valley in South Wales.[1] He was educated at Christ College, Brecon and read English at St John's College, Cambridge.


Smith took up his first teaching job at Loretto School near Edinburgh in Scotland. After a brief stint at Melbourne Grammar School in Australia, he taught at Tonbridge School for the rest of his career and was head of English for 17 years.[1] He published five novels during his teaching career before retiring in 2002 to concentrate on writing. His former pupils at Tonbridge include Sir Anthony Seldon, novelist Vikram Seth,[2] poet Christopher Reid, actor Dan Stevens[3] and musician Kit Hesketh-Harvey.

Personal life[edit]

Smith and his wife Gillian have a daughter, Becky, an educational consultant, and a son, Ed, who is the former England National Cricket Selector, a former England cricketer and published author.

In 2006, shortly after being diagnosed with cancer, he and his son went on a trip to India.[2] It was the inspiration for his book The Following Game, published in 2011.[4]

His book on teaching, The Learning Game, has been widely acclaimed in the world of education.

His first novel, Wilfred and Eileen, was adapted for BBC television into a four-part serial.

His first radio play, The World Walk, was made into a BBC2 TV play.

He wrote the screenplay for the film adaptation of his 1995 novel Summer in February, starring Dominic Cooper, and Dan Stevens, and Emily Browning, which was released in June 2013.[5]

His novel, The Churchill Secret KBO, was adapted for a feature-length movie starring Michael Gambon, screened in 2016 on ITV.

His two radio plays on John Betjeman were broadcast on Radio 4 in 2017.



  • Wilfred and Eileen (1976)
  • The English Lover (1977)
  • In Flight (1980)
  • Come Back (1985)
  • Summer in February. Abacus (1996). ISBN 978-0349107462
  • Night Windows. Abacus (2004). ISBN 978-0349115313[6][7]
  • The Churchill Secret KBO. Abacus (2015).


Radio dramas[edit]

Over twenty plays including: