Apr 2014


Yevgeny Zamyatin

Wikipedia says,

Yevgeny Ivanovich Zamyatin (January 20 (Julian) / February 1 (Gregorian), 1884 – March 10, 1937) was a controversial Russian author of science fiction and political satire, who was banned and exiled for his polemic against the oppressive communist regime. Despite having been a prominent Old Bolshevik, Zamyatin was deeply disturbed by the policies pursued by the CPSU following the October Revolution. He is most famous for his 1921 novel We, a story set in a dystopian future police state. In 1921, We became the first work banned by the Soviet censorship board. Ultimately, Zamyatin arranged for We to be smuggled to the West for publication. The subsequent outrage this sparked within the Party and the Union of Soviet Writers led directly to Zamyatin’s successful request for exile from his homeland. Due to his use of literature to criticize Soviet society, Zamyatin has been referred to as one of the first Soviet dissidents.

Janusz Zajdel

Wikipedia says,

Janusz Andrzej Zajdel (15 August 1938 in Warsaw – 19 July 1985 in Warsaw) was a prominent Polishscience fiction author, second in popularity in Poland after Stanisław Lem. His writing career started in 1965. His novels were recognized as the best in science fiction in Poland in 1982 (Limes inferior) and in 1984 (Paradyzja). He was a Trustee of World SF. He died of cancer after three years of fighting the disease.

Zajdel’s most important works are of social and dystopian fiction. In his works, he envisions totalitarian states and collapsed societies. His heroes are desperately trying to find sense in world around them, sometimes, as in Cylinder van Troffa, they are outsiders from a different time or place, trying to adapt to a new environment. The main recurring theme in his works is a comparison of the readers’ gloomy, hopeless situations to what may happen in a space environment if we carry totalitarian ideas and habits into space worlds: Red Space Republics or Space Labour Camps, or both.

His works have been translated into Belorussian, Bulgarian, Czech, Esperanto, Finnish, German, Hungarian, Russian and Slovenian.

Frederik Pohl dedicated the anthology Tales From The Planet Earth to Zajdel and A. Bertram Chandler. This book also contains the English translation of one of Zajdel’s short stories, “Particularly Difficult Territory”. It is his only work to have been translated into English to date.

The Link

Both authors wrote dystopian fiction.


If you’ve noticed my absence recently, it’s because I’m not here or there. But I am somewhere and will hopefully return soon to write my A to Z Challenge roundup, or whatever it’s called.

Many thanks to everyone who commented, liked, RTd and shared.

AuthorsA. B. Yehoshua

Wikipedia says,

Avraham (“Boolie”) Yehoshua was born to a fifth-generation Jerusalem family of Sephardi origin. His father, Yaakov Yehoshua, was a scholar and author specializing in the history of Jerusalem. His mother, Malka Rosilio, immigrated from Morocco in 1932.

Yehoshua served as a paratrooper in the Israeli army from 1954 to 1957. He attended Gymnasia Rehavia. After studying literature and philosophy at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, he began teaching. He lived in Jerusalem’s Neve Sha’anan neighborhood.

From 1963 to 1967 Yehoshua lived and taught in Paris and served as the General Secretary of the World Union of Jewish Students. Since 1972, he has taught Comparative and Hebrew Literature at the University of Haifa, where he holds the rank of Full Professor. In 1975 he was a writer-in-residence at St. Cross College, Oxford. He has also been a visiting professor at Harvard (1977) the University of Chicago (1988, 1997, 2000) and Princeton (1992).

Tamar Yellin

Tamar Yellin’s website says,

Tamar Yellin was born in the north of England. Her father was a third generation Jerusalemite and her mother the daughter of a Polish immigrant. She began writing fiction at an early age, and the creative tension between her Jewish heritage and her Yorkshire roots has informed much of her work. She received the Pusey and Ellerton Prize for Biblical Hebrew from Oxford University, and has worked as a teacher and lecturer in Judaism. Her first novel, The Genizah at the House of Shepher, appeared from The Toby Press in 2005 and was awarded the Sami Rohr Prize, the Ribalow Prize and was shortlisted for the Wingate Prize. Her collection, Kafka in Brontëland and other stories, appeared from Toby in 2006 and was awarded the Reform Judaism Prize, was longlisted for the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award and was a finalist for the Edge Hill Prize. Her third book, Tales of the Ten Lost Tribes, appeared from Toby Press in 2008.

Tamar Yellin lives in Yorkshire.

The Link

Both authors are children of Jerusalemites, although only one lives here. (Also a link to me and my almost published novel).


Needless to say, I didn’t have a lot of choice here.

Qiu Xiaolong

Wikipedia says,

Qiu Xiaolong (born Shanghai, China, 1953) is an English-language poet, literary translator, crime novelist, critic, and academic, currently living in St. Louis, Missouri, with his wife Wang Lijun and daughter Julia Qiu. He originally visited the United States in 1988 to write a book about T. S. Eliot, but following the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989 a newspaper reported on his previous fundraising efforts for Chinese students, and he was forced to remain in America to avoid persecution by the Communist Party of China.

He has published six crime-thriller/mystery novels set in Shanghai in the 1990s at the point when the People’s Republic of China is making momentous changes. These include Death of a Red Heroine, which won the Anthony Award for best first novel in 2001, and A Loyal Character Dancer. All books feature Chief Inspector Chen Cao, a poetry-quoting cop with integrity. But the main concern in the books is modern China itself. Each book features quotes from ancient and modern poets, Confucius, insights into Chinese cuisine, architecture, history, politics, herbology and philosophy as well as criminal procedure.

Xue Xinran

Wikipedia says,

Xuē Xīnrán (薛欣然, pen name Xinran, born in Beijing in 1958) is a British-Chinese journalist, broadcaster and writer.

The Link

They’re both expat Chinese. Xinran has moved to the UK while Xiaolong now lives in the USA.

AuthorsP. G. Wodehouse

Wikipedia says,

Sir Pelham Grenville Wodehouse, KBE, (15 October 1881 – 14 February 1975) was an English humorist whose body of work includes novels, short stories, plays, poems, song lyrics and numerous pieces of journalism. He enjoyed enormous popular success during a career that lasted more than seventy years, and his many writings continue to be widely read. Despite the political and social upheavals that occurred during his life, much of which was spent in France and the United States, Wodehouse’s main canvas remained that of a pre- and post-World War I English upper class society, reflecting his birth, education and youthful writing career.

An acknowledged master of English prose, Wodehouse has been admired both by contemporaries such as Hilaire Belloc, Evelyn Waugh and Rudyard Kipling and by recent writers such as Christopher Hitchens, Stephen Fry, Douglas Adams, J. K. Rowling, and John Le Carré.

Best known today for the Jeeves and Blandings Castle novels and short stories, Wodehouse was also a playwright and lyricist who was part author and writer of 15 plays and of 250 lyrics for some 30 musical comedies, many of them produced in collaboration with Jerome Kern and Guy Bolton. He worked with Cole Porter on the musical Anything Goes (1934), wrote the lyrics for the hit song “Bill” in Kern’s Show Boat (1927), wrote lyrics to Sigmund Romberg’s music for the Gershwin – Romberg musical Rosalie (1928) and collaborated with Rudolf Friml on a musical version of The Three Musketeers (1928). He is in the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

Wodehouse spent the last decades of his life in the United States, becoming an American citizen in 1955, because of controversy that arose after he made five light-hearted broadcasts from Germany during World War II, after he had been interned by the Germans for a year. Speculation after the broadcasts led to unfounded allegations of collaboration and even treason, and some libraries banned his books. Although an MI5 investigation later cleared him of any such crimes, he never returned to England.

Elie Wiesel

Wikipedia says,

Eliezer “Elie” WieselKBE (born September 30, 1928) is a Romanian-bornJewish-American professor and political activist. He is the author of 57 books, including Night, a work based on his experiences as a prisoner in the Auschwitz, Buna, and Buchenwald concentration camps. Wiesel is also the Advisory Board chairman of the newspaper Algemeiner Journal.

When Wiesel was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986, the Norwegian Nobel Committee called him a “messenger to mankind,” stating that through his struggle to come to terms with “his own personal experience of total humiliation and of the utter contempt for humanity shown in Hitler’s death camps”, as well as his “practical work in the cause of peace”, Wiesel had delivered a powerful message “of peace, atonement and human dignity” to humanity.

The Link

Both authors were forced to move due to the Second World War and ended up in the USA.

Wiesel, after surviving three concentration camps, lived where his work as a journalist took him before becoming a US citizen.

Wodehouse came under a lot of criticism because it was thought that he collaborated with the Germans. Wodehouse’s wife had been born in the USA and so they setted there.

AuthorsJules Verne

Wikipedia says,

Jules Gabriel Verne (8 February 1828 – 24 March 1905) was a French novelist, poet, and playwright best known for his adventure novels and his profound influence on the literary genre of science fiction.

Born to bourgeois parents in the seaport of Nantes, Verne was trained to follow in his father’s footsteps as a lawyer, but quit the profession early in life to write for magazines and the stage. His collaboration with the publisher Pierre-Jules Hetzel led to the creation of the Voyages Extraordinaires, a widely popular series of scrupulously researched adventure novels including Journey to the Center of the Earth, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, and Around the World in Eighty Days.

Verne is generally considered a major literary author in France and most of Europe, where he has had a wide influence on the literary avant-garde and on surrealism. His reputation is markedly different in Anglophone regions, where he has often been labeled a writer of genre fiction or children’s books, not least because of the highly abridged and altered translations in which his novels are often reprinted.

Verne is the second most-translated author in the world since 1979, between the English-language writers Agatha Christie and William Shakespeare, and probably was the most-translated during the 1960s and 1970s. He is one of the authors sometimes called “The Father of Science Fiction”, as are H. G. Wells and Hugo Gernsback.


AnneVeron is the penname of Anne Veronica Steward.

Anne says,

I have always had a need to read that has morphed into a need to write. Still avidly reading though. One life is never enough … time rattles on too fast but books let me live vicariously other people’s lives, real and imaginary. Since I retired from teaching: age ranges from 5 to 45, in Infant, Junior and High School with a generous dash of Special Education, I have worked for NCH as a Family Group Co-ordinator, in a gorgeous local bookshop and at the University as a Study Mentor for students. I also had a wonderful experience working in Cambodia with VSO for a year. My journal should be out on Kindle shortly. Holmfirth Writers’ Group and the National Association of Writers’ Groups make me part of a vibrant network of writers. I am a very proud mum and grandma with family in England, Wales, Canada and Australia.

The Link

Anne writes about Jules Verne: “He wrote so well about what might happen and what could happen. My novel, not yet published, is called ‘Powerless’ and reflects my feeling that we are so dependent on electrical technology that we have a disaster in waiting. My story is about human resilience where we would find ways forward by dipping into our past. Verne was also poet and a playwright. I have written scripts and find poetry an essential part of my creative work.”

AuthorsTwo “failures” today. See the link at the end.

Leon Uris

Wikipedia says,

Leon Marcus Uris (August 3, 1924 – June 21, 2003) was an American novelist, known for his historical fiction and the deep research that went into his novels. His two bestselling books were Exodus (published in 1958) and Trinity (published in 1976).

Tomi Ungerer

Wikipedia says,

Jean-Thomas “Tomi” Ungerer (born 28 November 1931) is a French illustrator and a writer in three languages. He has published over 140 books ranging from much loved children’s books to controversial adult work and from the fantastic to the autobiographical. He is known for sharp social satire and witty aphorisms.

Ungerer received the international Hans Christian Andersen Medal in 1998 for his “lasting contribution” as a children’s illustrator.

The Link

Both authors failed to graduate from school (high school). Uris failed English three times! Ungerer, according to his official site, failed the second part of the Baccalauréat exam. In a school report, his headmaster described him as a “willfully perverse and subversive individualist.”

Just shows formal education isn’t to everyone’s taste and success doesn’t depend on it.

AuthorsJ. R. R. Tolkien

Wikipedia says,

John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, CBE (3 January 1892 – 2 September 1973) was an English writer, poet, philologist, and university professor, best known as the author of the classic high fantasy works The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and The Silmarillion.

He served as the Rawlinson and Bosworth Professor of Anglo-Saxon and Fellow of Pembroke College, Oxford, from 1925 to 1945 and Merton Professor of English Language and Literature and Fellow of Merton College, Oxford from 1945 to 1959. He was at one time a close friend of C. S. Lewis—they were both members of the informal literary discussion group known as the Inklings. Tolkien was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II on 28 March 1972.

After his father’s death, Tolkien’s son Christopher published a series of works based on his father’s extensive notes and unpublished manuscripts, including The Silmarillion. These, together with The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings form a connected body of tales, poems, fictional histories, invented languages, and literary essays about a fantasy world called Arda, and Middle-earth within it. Between 1951 and 1955, Tolkien applied the term legendarium to the larger part of these writings. While many other authors had published works of fantasy before Tolkien, the great success of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings led directly to a popular resurgence of the genre. This has caused Tolkien to be popularly identified as the “father” of modern fantasy literature—or, more precisely, of high fantasy.

In 2008, The Times ranked him sixth on a list of “The 50 greatest British writers since 1945”.Forbes ranked him the 5th top-earning “dead celebrity” in 2009.

Tim Taylor

Crooked Cat says,

Tim ‘T.E.’ Taylor was born in Stoke-on-Trent in 1960 and now lives in Meltham, near Huddersfield, with his wife Rosa and daughter Helen.

He studied Classics at Pembroke College, Oxford, and some years later did a PhD in Philosophy at Birkbeck, University of London. He picspent a number of years in the civil service, where he did a wide range of jobs, before leaving in 2011 to spend more time writing. He now divides his time between creative writing, academic research (he has published a book, Knowing What is Good for You, on the philosophy of well-being), and part-time teaching and other work for Leeds and Huddersfield Universities.

As well as fiction, Tim writes poetry, which he often performs on local radio and at open mic nights (where he also plays the guitar).  He is chairperson of Holmfirth Writers’ Group and a member of Colne Valley Writers’ Group.  He also likes walking up hills.

The Link

Tim says, “Tolkien, a Professor of Anglo-Saxon, was a Fellow of Pembroke College, Oxford University from 1925 to 1945. I was an undergraduate at the same College from 1979 to 1983, studying Classics and ‘Greats’ (Philosophy and Ancient History). At the age of 11, I was captivated by The Lord of the Rings to an extent that has never quite been equalled by any of the numerous books I have read and loved since then. I have not tried consciously to emulate Tolkien and have never written fantasy fiction. Nevertheless, I continue to admire Tolkien’s work and recognise that I may have been influenced by some aspects of it in my own writing – such as its epic quality and the rich detail through which Tolkien brings his imagined world to life, with lovingly crafted layers of history, language and culture.”

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