C. S. Forester

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Cecil Scott Forester was the pen name of Cecil Louis Troughton Smith (27 August 1899 – 2 April 1966), an English novelist who rose to fame with tales of naval warfare. His most notable works were the 11-book Horatio Hornblower series, depicting a Royal Navy officer during the Napoleonic era, and The African Queen (1935; filmed in 1951 by John Huston). His novels A Ship of the Line and Flying Colours were jointly awarded the 1938 James Tait Black Memorial Prize for fiction.



Forester was born in Cairo and educated at Alleyn's School, Dulwich College, and Guy's Hospital, but did not complete his studies there. He married Kathleen Belcher in 1926, had two sons, and divorced in 1945. His eldest son, John, is a noted cycling activist and wrote a biography of his father.

During World War II, Forester moved to the United States where he wrote propaganda to encourage that country to join the Allies. He eventually settled in Berkeley, California. While living in Washington, D.C., he met a young British intelligence officer named Roald Dahl, of whose experiences in the R.A.F. he had heard word, and encouraged him to write about them. In 1947, he secretly married a woman named Dorothy Foster. He suffered extensively from arteriosclerosis later in life.

Forester wrote many other novels, among them The African Queen (1935) and The General (1936); Peninsular War novels in Death to the French (published in the United States as Rifleman Dodd) and The Gun (filmed as The Pride and the Passion in 1957); and seafaring stories that did not involve Hornblower, such as Brown on Resolution (1929); The Captain from Connecticut (1941); The Ship (1943) and Hunting the Bismarck (1959), which was used as the basis of the screenplay for the 1960 film Sink the Bismarck! Several of his works were filmed, most notably the 1951 film The African Queen, directed by John Huston. Forester is also credited as story writer for several movies not based on his published fiction, including Commandos Strike at Dawn (1942).

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