Jonathan Smith (novelist)

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Jonathan Smith
Born1942 (age 80–81)
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.

Teaching and writing career[edit]

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.

A number of his works have been adapted for television and film. His first novel Wilfred and Eileen was adapted for into a four-part serial which aired in 1981 on BBC One.[4] His first radio play The World Walk was adapted for television and aired on BBC Two.[5] His 1995 novel Summer in February was adapted into a full-length film.[6] The novel The Churchill Secret KBO, was adapted for a feature-length movie starring Michael Gambon, screened in 2016 on ITV under the title Churchill's Secret.[7][8] His two radio plays on John Betjeman were broadcast on Radio 4 in 2017.

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.[9]



  • 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[10][11]
  • The Churchill Secret KBO. Abacus (2015).


Radio dramas[edit]

Over twenty plays including: