Famous Merton writers
There are a number of famous writers with ties to Merton some of whom are listed below. The list is by no means definitive, but is a good place to start finding out about the literary figures that have graced the borough.
Raymond Redvers Briggs
Raymond Redvers Briggs (born 18 January 1934), is an English illustrator, cartoonist, graphic novelist, and author who has achieved critical and popular success among adults and children. He was educated at Rutlish School and Wimbledon School of Art. Some of his most well known books include ‘Father Christmas’, ‘Fungus the Bogeyman’, ‘The Snowman’ and ‘When the Wind Blows’.
Edna O'Brien (born 15 December 1930), is an Irish novelist and short story writer whose works often revolves around the inner feelings of women and their problems in relating to men and society as a whole. She was born in Tuangraney, County Clare and moved to London in the 1950s. She used to live in Cannon Hill Lane in Merton.She wrote part of her famous ‘Country Girls’ trilogy, which include ‘The Country Girls’, ‘Girl with Green Eyes’ and ‘Girls in Their Married Bliss’, while living in Merton Park and the first chapter of her book ‘Night’ is based in Wimbledon.
John Donne (1572 to 1631), an English poet, satirist, lawyer, and priest, is now considered the preeminent representative of the metaphysical poets. A Tudor poet, John was also a clergyman in Mitcham during the 16th century. Some of his works continue to be published in such titles as ‘Complete English Poems’ and ‘Poems of John Donne’.
Robert von Ranke Graves
Robert von Ranke Graves (1895 to 1985), was an English poet, translator and novelist. During his long life he produced more than 140 works. He is also known as Robert Ranke Graves and most commonly Robert Graves. He was born at 1 Lauriston Road, Wimbledon and educated at Kings College School and Rokeby Prep School. His most famous book was ‘I Claudius’ and his other novels include ‘Sergeant Lamb of the Ninth’ and ‘Seven days in New Crete’.
Georgette Heyer (1902 to 1974) was a British historical romance and detective fiction novelist. She lived in various addresses throughout Wimbledon during her early life including 103 Woodside (1902-6), 1 Courthope Road (c.1907-9), 11 Homefield Road (1918) and 5 Ridgway Place (1923–5). Some of her most well known books include ‘April Lady’, ‘Beauvallet’, ‘The Quiet Gentleman’ and ‘Regency Buck’.
Beryl Kingston (born 1931) lived in Wimbledon for a while. She has written many Family sagas, historical novels and modern novels but has also written poetry, plays, short stories and newspaper articles. Included among her many novels are ’Tuppenny Times’, ‘Gates of Paradise’, ‘Octavia’ and ‘War Baby’.
Michelle Paver (born 7 September 1960) was born in Nyasaland in central Africa. Her mother was Belgian and her South African father ran a newspaper, the Nyasaland Times. Her family settled in Wimbledon, England when she was three. Educated at The Study and Wimbledon High School, she is now a British-based novelist and children's writer. She is the author of the six-book series ‘Chronicles of Ancient Darkness’, which include ‘Wolf Brother’, Outcast’ and ‘Ghost Hunter’, set in the pre-agricultural Stone Age. Her other books include ‘Dark Matter’ and ‘Without Charity’.
Nigel Williams (born January 20 1948) is an English novelist, screenwriter and playwright. He was born in Cheadle, Cheshire but now lives in Putney SW15. He has some Wimbledon association and has written many related books including ‘The Wimbledon Poisoner’, ‘They Came From SW19’, ‘East of Wimbledon’ and ‘From Wimbledon to Waco’.
Elisabeth 'Liza' Beresford MBE
Elisabeth 'Liza' Beresford, MBE (1926 to 2010) was a British author of children's books, best known for creating The Wombles. She got her inspiration for the famous Womble books while walking on Wimbledon Common with her young daughter Kate who wrongly referred to it as Wombledon Common. Some of the books featuring the Wombles include ‘Ghost of Wimbledon Common’, ‘The Wandering Wombles’, Tomsk to the Rescue’ and ‘The Great Cake Mystery’.