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Writers and poets who were born or died in London during the 20th century

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20th Century

For T.S. Eliot, John Galsworthy, Harold Pinter and Patrick White see Nobel Prize Winners



In 1906 the poet John Betjeman was born in Islington. He succeeded Cecil Day-Lewis as Poet Laureate in 1972 and on his death in 1984 was succeeded by Ted Hughes.

 John Betjeman
Poets laureate
Poetry Archive



Daphne du Maurier was born in London in 1907.

Daphne du Maurier



The journalist and thriller writer Ian Fleming was born in Mayfair in 1908. Starting with Casino Royale (published 1953) he wrote 12 novels and 2 short story collections featuring the British spy James Bond. All of the books were made into highly successful films, starting with Dr No in 1962.

Ian Fleming



The poet Stephen Spender was born in London in 1909. He became friends with W.H. Auden and Cecil Day-Lewis whilst studying at Oxford where he also met Christopher Isherwood, whom he would later spend time with in 1930s Germany. Their writings would reflect and chronicle the political and social divides of the decade which ended in the outbreak of World War Two. Spender died in London in 1995.

Stephen Spender
With Christopher Isherwood and W.H. Auden


What I had not foreseen;
Was the gradual day
Weakening the will
Leaking the brightness away.

What I expected, was (1933)



Bram Stoker, author of Dracula, died in London in 1912.



The American-born author Henry James died in London in 1916. He is buried in the United States, in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Henry James



The author of King Solomon's Mines Henry Rider Haggard, died in London in 1925 and is buried at Ditchingham in Norfolk.

Henry Rider Haggard



The Scottish writer and creator of Peter Pan J.M. Barrie died in London in 1937.

J.M. Barrie



The author of The War of the Worlds and The Time Machine H.G. Wells, died at his home at 13 Hanover Terrace in Westminster in 1946.

H.G. Wells



The author of 1984 and Animal Farm George Orwell, died at Westminster Hospital in London in 1950. He is buried in Sutton Courtenay in Oxfordshire.

George Orwell
George Orwell


Who controls the past controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.

Nineteen-Eighty-Four (1949)



The poet Andrew Motion was born in London n 1952. In 1999 he became Poet Laureate, succeeding Ted Hughes who had died the year before. Previously held for life, the position of poet laureate is now restricted to a 10-year period and so in 2009 Motion was succeeded by the first woman to hold the post, Carol Ann Duffy.

Andrew Motion
Poets laureate



The American-born poet Sylvia Plath committed suicide in London in 1963. She is buried in Heptonstall in Yorkshire.

Sylvia Plath
With Ted Hughes


Dying,
Is an art, like everything else.

Lady Lazarus (1963)



The poet Louis MacNeice died in London in 1963.

Louis MacNeice


By a high star our course is set,
Our end is Life. Put out to sea.

Thalassa (1964)



The novelist L.P. Hartley died in 1972 in London.

L.P. Hartley



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