He was without an equal in England in the kind of story he had made his own, and stood in the direct line of succession of fiction-writers of the English countryside that includes George Eliot, Thomas Hardy, and D.H. Lawrence – Times
Born in Rushden, Northamptonshire, H.E. Bates was educated at Kettering Grammar School and worked as a journalist before publishing his first book, The Two Sisters, when he was just twenty. Over the next fifteen years, with the care of his mentor Edward Garnett, he won a distinguished reputation for his stories and novels about English country life
In 1940 he accepted a commission from the Air Ministry as an official war writer. His experiences in WW2 led to a period of critical and commercial success with the publication of, among others, Fair Stood the Wind for France (1944), The Purple Plain and The Jacaranda Tree. In the 1950s he published Love for Lydia and The Feast of July – two of his very finest novels – before he began the sequence of five novels about the Larkins, a happy-go-lucky family who live in a junkyard in Kent, that was to find him a new and lasting audience.
H.E. Bates was a prolific writer - producing over 300 short stories, as well as novellas, essays and plays - whose work has been translated into 18 languages.
TV adaptations of his work include: The Darling Buds of May, Uncle Silas, Love for Lydia, Fair Stood the Wind for France, A Moment in Time, and Country Matters. Films include: The Purple Plain, Feast of July, Dulcima, A Month by the Lake and The Triple Echo.