Kops, Bernard 1926–

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Kops, Bernard 1926–

PERSONAL: Born November 28, 1926, in London, England; son of Joel (a shoemaker) and Ginny Kops; married Erica Gordon, February 9, 1956; children: four. Ethnicity: "Jewish." Education: Attended elementary schools until age of thirteen. Religion: Jewish.

ADDRESSES: Home—London, England. Agent—Emily Hayward, Sheil Land Associates, 52 Doughty St., London WC1N, England. E-mail[email protected]

CAREER: Writer. Held various odd jobs, 1945–58; Bristol Old Vic Theatre, Bristol, England, resident dramatist, 1959. Lecturer for PEN in Hungary and for British Council in Poland and Israel; lecturer on drama at British universities; broadcaster for British Broadcasting Corp. on Home and Third Programme and for European and Far Eastern Services.

AWARDS, HONORS: Arts Council grants for drama, 1958, 1979, 1985, 2002, 2006.



The Hamlet of Stepney Green: A (Sad) Comedy in Three Acts, M. Evans (London, England), 1959.

Goodbye, World, produced, 1959.

Change for the Angel, produced in London, England 1960.

The Dream of Peter Mann (produced in Edinburgh, Scotland, at Edinburgh Festival, 1960), Penguin (Harmondsworth, England), 1960.

Stray Cats and Empty Bottles produced in Cambridge, England, 1961; produced in Cononbury, England, at Tower Theatre, 1967.

Four Plays (contains "The Hamlet of Stepney Green," "Enter Solly Gold," and the radio plays Home Sweet Honeycomb" and "The Lemmings"), MacGibbon & Kee (London, England), 1964.

David, It Is Getting Dark, produced 1966.

(With John Goldschmidt) It's a Lovely Day Tomorrow, televised, 1975, produced in London, England, 1976.

Moss, televised, 1975, produced in London, England, 1991.

More Out than In, produced on tour and in London, England, 1980.

Ezra, produced in London, England, 1981.

Simon at Midnight, broadcast, 1982, produced in London, England, 1985.

Some of These Days, produced in London, England, 1990, produced as Sophie! Last of the Red Hot Mamas, London, England, 1990.

Androcles and the Lion (adaptation for children), produced in London, England, 1992.

Playing Sinatra: A Play, Samuel French (London, England), 1992.

Who Shall I Be Tomorrow?, produced in London, England 1992.

Dreams of Anne Frank: A Play for Young People, Samuel French (London, England), 1993.

Call in the Night, produced in West Yorkshire, England, at West Yorkshire Playhouse, 1995.

Jacob and the Green Rabbi, produced in London, England, at Young Vic Theatre, 1997.

Cafe Zeitgeist, produced in Wayne, NE, at Wayne State College, 2001.

Riverchange, 2001.

I Am Isaac Babel, 2002.

Plays One, Oberon (London, England), 2002.

Plays Two, Oberon (London, England), 2003.

The Opening, 2003.

Returning We Hear the Larks, 2003.

Plays Three, Oberon (London, England), 2004.

Knocking on Heaven's Door, 2004.

Rogues and Vagabonds, 2005.

Also author of the radio plays The Dark Ages and The Lost Love of Phoebe Meyers, and the television plays I Want to Go Home and The Lost Years of Brian Hooper. Contributor to anthologies, including New English Dramatists: Three Plays by Doris Lessing, Bernard Kops, Arnold Wesker, edited by E. Martin Browne, Penguin (Harmondsworth, England), 1959; Satan, Socialites, and Solly Gold: Three New Plays from England, Coward (New York, NY), 1961; and Eight Plays: Book 1, Cassell (London, England), 1965.


Awake for Mourning, MacGibbon & Kee (London, England), 1958.

Motorbike, New English Library (London, England), 1962.

Yes from No-Man's Land, Coward (New York, NY), 1965.

The Dissent of Dominick Shapiro, Coward (New York, NY), 1967.

By the Waters of Whitechapel, Bodley Head (London, England), 1969.

The Passionate Past of Gloria Gaye, Secker & Warburg (London, England), 1971.

Settle Down Simon Katz, Secker & Warburg (London, England), 1973.

Partners, Secker & Warburg (London, England), 1975.

On Margate Sands, Secker & Warburg (London, England), 1978.


Poems, Bell and Baker Press (London, England), 1955.

Poems and Songs, Scorpion Press (Northwood, England), 1958.

An Anemone for Antigone, Scorpion Press (Northwood, England), 1959.

Erica I Want to Read You Something, Scorpion Press (Northwood, England), 1966.

For the Record, Secker & Warburg (London, England), 1971.

Barricades in West Hampstead, Hearing Eye (London, England), 1988.

Grandchildren, and Other Poems, Hearing Eye (London, England), 2000.

Where Do People Go?, 2005.


The World Is a Wedding (autobiography), Coward (New York, NY), 1963.

(Editor) Poetry Hounslow, Hounslow Civic Centre (London, England), 1981.

Neither Your Honey nor Your Sting: An Offbeat History of the Jews, Robson Books (London, England), 1985.

Shalom Bomb: Scenes from My Life, Oberon (London, England), 2000.

Bernard Kops East End, Five Leaves Press (Nottingham, England), 2006.

SIDELIGHTS: Bernard Kops's writing reflects his protest against the life and politics that he observed as a member of a lower-class Jewish family in England. His style incorporates humor as a means of communication; as George Wellwarth noted in his book Theatre of Protest and Paradox: "If you can laugh at your heritage, you can transcend it…. To Kops reality is one long, manic vaudeville act."

Philip Klass wrote in the Dictionary of Literary Biography: "Kops uses the idiom of his background with great sensitivity, mixing it with humor and fantasy, to achieve, in several of his plays, telling effects. Directly or indirectly, his work shows the influences of a wide group of predecessors: Sean O'Casey, Bertolt Brecht, Shalom Aleichem, Brendan Behan, and even Karel Capek and Samuel Beckett. He is a peculiarly controversial figure among critics in that there is as yet little agreement as to his proper stature as an artist or upon the precise category of drama to which his work belongs."

Kops's autobiography was praised for its honesty and vitality. Cecil Hemley wrote, "The World Is a Wedding is not only an exciting book but a most revealing one…. Kops sums up a particular aspect of our age." A Times Literary Supplement reviewer wrote: "Even the weaknesses are illuminating, the sentimentalities, the postures, the cliches…. It ends on a note of hope, and on one which promises well for Mr. Kops's future."

Kops told CA: "Compelled to write from an early age, I have never experienced writer's block. There are many ways to get to the other side of a monolithic wall. I work from early in the morning (5:30 to 6:00 a.m.) until midday. The rest of my time is spent lecturing, revising, walking, but most of all with my burgeoning family."



Contemporary Dramatists, 5th edition, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 1993.

Dictionary of Literary Biography, Volume 13: British Dramatists since World War II, Gale (Detroit, MI), 1982.

Taylor, John Russell, The Angry Theatre, Hill & Wang (New York, NY), 1962.

Wellwarth, George, Theatre of Protest and Paradox, New York University Press (New York, NY), 1964.


Best Sellers, February 15, 1967, review of The Dissent of Dominick Shapiro, p. 408.

Nation, July 3, 1967, review of The Dissent of Dominick Shapiro, p. 23.

New Statesman, April 22, 1966, review of The Dissent of Dominick Shapiro, p. 584; March 28, 1975, review of Partners, p. 424.

New York Times, February 7, 1967, review of The Dissent of Dominick Shapiro, p. 41M; April 22, 1972, review of The Passionate Past of Gloria Gave, p. 31.

New York Times Book Review, February 5, 1967, review of The Dissent of Dominick Shapiro, p. 44.

Observer (London, England), March 28, 1965, review of Yes from No-Man's Land, p. 26; April 17, 1966, review of The Dissent of Dominick Shapiro, p. 27; June 11, 1978, review of On Margate Sands, p. 28.

Saturday Review, August 24, 1963, Cecil Hemley, review of The World Is a Wedding.

Times Literary Supplement, May 24, 1963, review of The World Is a Wedding; April 28, 1966, review of The Dissent of Dominick Shapiro, p. 361; February 15, 1968, review of I Want to Read You Something, p. 155; July 9, 1971, review of For the Record, p. 798; March 28, 1975, review of Partners, p. 329; August 11, 1978, review of On Margate Sands, p. 917.

Washington Post Book World, April 9, 1972, review of The Passionate Past of Gloria Gave, p. 8.