Stephen McKenna (novelist)

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Stephen McKenna (novelist)
McKenna, Stephen

27 February 1888
Died26 September 1967(1967-09-26) (aged 79)
OccupationNovelist, British writer

Stephen McKenna (27 February 1888 – 26 September 1967) was an English novelist who wrote forty-seven novels, mostly focusing on English upper-class society, and six non-fiction titles. He published his first novel, The Reluctant Lover, in 1912. His best-known novel, Sonia: Between Two Worlds, was published in 1917. It was the tenth best-selling novel for 1918 in the United States, and also made into a British film of the same name in 1921.

McKenna was the son of Leopold and Ellen McKenna. He was educated at Westminster School (Scholar), London, and at Christ Church, Oxford (Exhibitioner).[1] He gained a second-class honours degree in history at Oxford in 1909.[2] After graduation, he taught briefly at Westminster School but found teaching uncongenial.[3] Independent means allowed him to travel in Europe, Asia, Africa, and America.[1][3] He was medically unfit for active service during the First World War but worked in the War Trade Intelligence Department, 1915–19, and served in A.J. (Lord) Balfour's Mission to the United States of America, 1917.[1]

The partly autobiographical While I Remember (1921) conveys a flavour of McKenna's early years, including his time at Oxford.

McKenna's The Oldest God (1926) is a philosophical fantasy novel featuring the god Pan.[4]

He wrote Tex. A chapter in the life of Alexander Teixeira de Mattos, a biography about Alexander Teixeira de Mattos, the Dutch journalist who translated books from many languages into English, a.o. Louis Couperus, whom McKenna befriended in 1921.

His uncle was Reginald McKenna, Chancellor of the Exchequer under H. H. Asquith, of whom he published a biography in 1948, Reginald McKenna, 1863-1943: A Memoir.

His clubs were the Reform and the Garrick. For a considerable portion of his adult life he lived at 11 Stone Buildings, Lincoln's Inn, London.[1]




  1. ^ a b c d Who's Who, 1935. London: A. & C. Black. 1935. p. 2120.
  2. ^ Oxford University Calendar. Oxford, England: Clarendon Press. 1916. p. 181.
  3. ^ a b McKenna, Stephen (27 September 1967). "While I Remember". The Times. London, England. p. 10.
  4. ^ Stableford, Brian (2005). The A to Z of Fantasy Literature. Plymouth: Scarecrow Press. p. 312. ISBN 0-8108-6829-6.
  5. ^ "Author - Stephen McKENNA". Author and Book Info.

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