Graham, Winston (Mawdsley) 1910-2003
GRAHAM, Winston (Mawdsley) 1910-2003
See index for CA sketch: Born June 30, 1910, in Manchester, England; died July 10, 2003, in Buxted, East Sussex, England. Author. Graham was a popular British novelist best known for his "Poldark" historical series. A sickly youth, he was educated at home by his mother, who encouraged his literary efforts when he began to write and supported Graham financially when he started to produce novels for a living. His first publication successes were short stories for periodicals such as Windsor magazine, and genre novels for London publisher Ward, Lock, which paid him very little for these early books. During the London blitz many of Graham's early novels were destroyed, but he was not overly upset because, as he later admitted, they were not very good. One of his first bestsellers was the thriller Night without Stars (1950), which won him a contract with Hodder & Stoughton that was much more lucrative than his Ward, Lock arrangement. By then, Graham was already becoming popular for his various genre books, which now included thrillers, crime novels, gothic romances, and, most famously, his historical novels featuring the Poldark family and beginning with Ross Poldark: A Novel of Cornwall, 1783-1787 (1945). Over the course of his career, Graham would follow the Poldark family and their rivals, the Warleggans, in twelve books, concluding with Bella Poldark: A Novel of Cornwall, 1818-1820 (2002). These books are beloved for their detailed portrayal of historical Cornwall, where the author lived for thirty years, and their colorful characters, who occupied themselves in various intrigues. The "Poldark" series was adapted for two television series, one airing during the 1970s and 1980s, and the other debuting in 1993. Graham also found success outside of the "Poldark" books; a number of his novels were turned into movies, most notably the 1964 Alfred Hitchcock film Marnie and the movie The Walking Stick (1969), based on his 1967 story. Despite selling many books, Graham remained a private man and avoided fame. Some of his other notable books include The Little Walls (1956), which won a Crime Writers Association award; Angell, Pearl, and Little God (1970); and his autobiography Memoirs of a Private Man (2003). For his memorable contributions to literature, Graham was honored as a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 1968 and named to the Order of the British Empire in 1983.
OBITUARIES AND OTHER SOURCES:
Contemporary Novelists, seventh edition, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 2001.
Writers Directory, 18th edition, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 2003.
Independent (London, England), July 11, 2003, p. 16.
Los Angeles Times, July 11, 2003, p. B13.
New York Times, July 12, 2003, p. A21.
Washington Post, July 15, 2003, p. B7.