Wilfred Owen

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OWEN: Wilfred (Military Cross 1918)

Wilfred Owen
Born: 18 March 1893, Oswestry, Shropshire, United Kingdom
Died: 4 November 1918, Sambre-Oise Canal, France

This young man produced over 80 poems, only four of which were published in his lifetime, in the year before he was killed – a week before Armistice. The conditions in the trenches were absolutely horrific – reflected by the evocative language describing the physical and psychological making an intense impact on the reader. Two years after he enlisted, Owen underwent treatment for shellshock (PTSD) during which time he met his literary hero, Siegfred Sassoon. Owen returned to the trenches and was awarded the Military Cross for his bravery when he seized a German machine gun killing a number of Germans. Quite a few of his poems amongst which are Insensibility and Apologia Pro Poemate Meo describe the psychological impacts of war. He was killed in the last week of the war.


  • “My subject is War, and the pity of War. The Poetry is in the pity.”
  • “All a poet can do today is warn. That is why the true poet must be truthful.”
  • “Be bullied, be outraged, be killed, but do not kill.”
  • “Ambition may be defined as the willingness to receive any number of hits on the nose.”

POETRY (* Better known)

Anthem for doomed Youth: What passing-bells for these who die as cattle?
Only the monstrous anger of the guns.
1914: War broke: and now the Winter of the world With perishing great darkness closes in.
Disabled: He sat in a wheeled chair, waiting for dark,
And shivered in his ghastly suit of grey,


Wilfred was very close to his mother and his letters to her give insight into the bravery of this young man.

William Golding


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Golding: William (Nobel Peace Prize for Literature 1983)

Born: 19 September 1911, Newquay, Cornwall, United Kingdom
Died: 19 June 1993, Perranarworthal, Cornwall, United Kingdom

Lord of the Flies was Golding’s first novel and in it he sets out his theme for future books exploring the struggle between good and evil. He was a teacher and drew his inspiration from the boys he taught. In his private notes which were only published after his death, Golding admits to being a bully when he was at school and to also manipulating his pupils recording the results in Lord of the Flies. His writing is filled with symbolism


“What a man does defiles him, not what is done by others.”
“My yesterdays walk with me. They keep step, they are gray faces that peer over my shoulder.”


  • Lord of the Flies
  • The Double Tongue
  • Rites of Passage (Booker McConnell Prize 1980)
  • Pincher Martin
  • Free Fall
  • The Pyramid

Scott Fitzgerald

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Fitzgerald: Francis Scott Key

Born: 24 September 1896 in St Paul, Minnesota
Died: 21 December 1940 in Hollywood, California (Heart attack)

In Fitzgerald’s own words describing the Roaring Twenties which was also known as the Jazz Age: It was an age of miracles, it was an age of art, it was an age of excess, and it was an age of satire. The Great Gatsby is regarded as the definitive novel of this age, but was only recognised as such in the 1950’s and 1960’s. Fitzgerald died believing he was a failure.


Never confuse a single defeat with a final defeat.
You don’t write because you want to say something, you write because you have something to say.
First you take a drink, then the drink takes a drink, then the drink takes you. (Fitzgerald was an alcoholic)

Selected Bibliography


  • The Great Gatsby
  • The Diamond as Big as the Ritz
  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
  • The Camel’s Back
  • The Last of the Belles.
  • The Beautiful and Damned
  • This Side of Paradise
  • Tender is the Night
  • The Love of the Last Tycoon (Unfinished)

James Ngugi

Kani: Bonisile John (Playwright and Actor)

Ngugi wa Thiong’o (Born James Thiong’o Ngugi)

Born: 5 January 1938, Limuru, Kenya

This highly regarded prolific Kenyan born writer holds numerous degrees (many of them honorary) from Universities around the world. He is currently lecturing at UCLA. His output ranges across political commentary, novels, short stories, plays and children’s books. He holds an additional distinction in that Dictator Moi issued a warrant of arrest for the main character in a novel, and on finding him fictional, had the novel arrested instead! He writes in Gikuyu which is his native language and translates his work into English himself.


“The condition of women in a nation is the real measure of its progress”.
“Written words can also sing”.


  • Weep not Child
  • The River Between
  • A Grain of Wheat
  • Petals of Blood
  • Devil on the Cross
  • Matigari
  • Wizard or the Crow
  • Something Torn & New: An African Renaissance

Bonisile Kani

Paka Mdogo childrens books

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Kani: Bonisile John (Playwright and Actor)

Born: 30 November 1942, New Brighton, Eastern Cape

In 2014, the Main Theatre of the New Market Theatre in Johannesburg, was renamed the Jon Kani Theatre. Kani is both an actor and a playright, and also co-authored the 1975 Tony Award Siswe Banzi is Dead with Winston Ntshona and Athol Fugard. Of his play Nothing but the Truth this is what the New York Times had to say:

“A deeply felt portrait that delicately weaves the extraordinary and the ordinary in its characters’ lives”.


  • The Ghost and the Darkness 1996
  • Siswe Bansi is Dead 1972
  • The Wild Geese 1978
  • The Island 1973
  • Nothing but the Truth 2008

Jane Austen


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Austen: Jane

Born: 16 December 1775, Steventon, England
Died: 18 July 1817, Winchester, England

Jane wrote only six novels, and such is the impact of her work that the formula she used is regarded as the basis for all romantic novels. Her novels must be amongst the most adapted to film and have been translated into nearly every language in the world! Her writing is epitomised by humour and wit, with astute observations made against the backdrop of the Georgian (Regency) period.


“The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid.”


  • Pride and Prejudice
  • Sense and Sensibility
  • Persuasion
  • Emma
  • Northanger Abbey
  • Mansfield Park

Lee Harper

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Lee: (Nelle) Harper (Pulitzer Prize 1960)

Born: 28 April 1926, Monroeville, Alabama

Harper grew up with Truman Capote (Breakfast at Tiffany’s) – a friendship that lasted until his death in 1984. Although her book Go Set a Watchman preceded To Kill a Mockingbird, it was set in a later time period. The publishers rejected it but suggested she rewrite it from the perspective of Scout as a child. Harper Lee had a stroke a few years ago and is now living in a care facility, however her mind is as sharp as ever and she fully endorsed the recent publication of Go Set a Watchman. A great deal of controversy has been generated by the changes in the character of Atticus Finch.


“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view”.
“The one thing that doesn’t abide by majority rule is a person’s conscience”.
“Many receive advice, only the wise profit from it”.


  • To Kill a Mockingbird (1960)
  • Go set a Watchman (2015 – originally submitted in 1957)

George Orwell

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Orwell: George (born Eric Arthur Blair)

Born: 25 June 1903, Motihari, India
Died: 21 January 1950, London, England

Orwell’s genius lies in his ability to take his own experiences (for example he worked as a dishwasher and he fought in the Spanish Civil War) and to work an astute political commentary into his storyline. History has a way of repeating itself and much of what Orwell wrote in his heyday is just as relevant today. This is borne out by the quotations below.


“Freedom is the right to tell people what they do not want to hear”.
“In a time of universal deceit – telling the truth is a revolutionary act”.
“Political language… is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind”.


  • Animal Farm
  • Nineteen Eighty-Four
  • Down and Out in Paris and London
  • Burmese Days

Arthur Miller

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Miller: Arthur Asher

arthur miller
Born: 17 October, 1915, Harlem, New York
Died: 10 February 2005, Roxbury, Connecticut, United States

“Miller based his works on American history, his own life, and his observations of the American scene. Though uniquely American, they simultaneously were universal stories about an individual’s strugg;e with his society, his family, and especially, himself. Miller’s characters suffer from anxiety, depression, and guilt, and it was the genius of Miller to portray their pain and sorrow realistically, creating works that were familiar, yet uncanny in their power to move an audience. Miller’s stature is based on his refusal to avoid moral and social issues in his writing, even when the personal cost was terrible.”

IMDb Mini Biography By: Jon C. Hopwood

Miller’s daughter, Rebecca, married Daniel Day-Lewis who starred in the 1996 film version of The Crucible


“Maybe all one can do is hope to end up with the right regrets”.
“Betrayal is the only truth that sticks”.


  • The Crucible
  • Death of a Salesman
  • All my Sons
  • No Villain
  • A View from a Bridge


2015 Matric Set English authors

S/S 15 Accessories at FORZIERI.COM

Sites for MATRIC 2015 English Literature – AUTHORS

Biography Online

Brainy Quote

JANE AUSTEN (Synopsis)

Useful references (summaries and analysis):
Pride and Prejudice link 1
Pride and Prejudice link 3
Pride and Prejudice link 4

DICKENS (Synopsis)


Charles Dickens link 1
This an extremely comprehensive site with interesting and instructive links
Charles Dickens link 2
Free e-book downloads
Charles Dickens link 3
Summaries and commentary of Dickens’ novels.


Great Gatsby link 1
Great Gatsby link 2
Great Gatsby link 2

GOLDING (Synopsis)

Lord of the flies link 1
Lord of the flies link 2
Lord of the flies link 3

HARPER LEE (Synopsis)

To kill a mockingbird link 1
To kill a mockingbird link 2
To kill a mockingbird link 3

ORWELL (Synopsis)

Animal Farm link 1
Animal Farm link 2
Animal Farm link 3


NGUGI WA THIONG’O (James Ngugi) (Synopsis)

Arthur Miller (Synopsis)