Remarkable People

ID #5217

Wilbur Smith, Author, Zambia, Zimbabwe and South Africa.

Wilbur Addison Smith  was born in 1933 in Broken Hill, Northern Rhodesia (Kabwe, Zambia) and is a best-selling novelist. His writings are mostly about southern part of Africa, adventures and international intrigues.

As a baby, he contracted cerebral malaria but made a full recovery. He grew up on a cattle ranch and spent his childhood hunting and hiking. His mother gave him novels of escape and excitement, which piqued his interest in fiction. However, his father dissuaded him from pursuing writing.

After education at Cordwalles Preparatory School, Michaelhouse in Natal and Rhodes University in the Eastern Cape, he became a journalist, writing about social conditions in South Africa, but his father's advice to "get a real job" prompted him to become a tax accountant.

He published his first novel, When the Lion Feeds, in 1964, written while he worked for Salisbury Inland Revenue. The book gained a film deal and its success encouraged him to become a full-time writer. Charles Pick, his publisher and later his agent gave him advice he never forgot: "Write for yourself, and write about what you know best."

He married and had two children after he qualified as a Chartered Accountant. The marriage ended in divorce at the age of twenty four. He married again following the publication of his first novel which also ended in divorce. He married Danielle Thomas in 1971 and dedicated his books to her until her death in 1999. He married Mokhiniso Rakhimova from Tadjikistan in May 2000.

He states that Africa is his major inspiration and has published over 30 novels. The Courtney series can be split into three parts, each following a particular era of the Courtney family. In chronological order it goes the Third Sequence, First Sequence and then the Second Sequence. However this is a slight generalization, so in fact the book sequence is:
1.    Birds of Prey 1660s
2.    Monsoon 1690s
3.    Blue Horizon 1730s
4.    When the Lion Feeds 1860s-1890s
5.    Triumph of the Sun 1880s
6.    The Sound of Thunder 1899-1906
7.    Assegai 1906-1918
8.    A Sparrow Falls 1918-1925
9.    The Burning Shore 1917-1920
10.    Power of the Sword 1931-1948
11.    Rage 1950s and 1960s
12.    Golden Fox 1969-1979
13.    A Time To Die 1987

The Ballantyne Novels chronicle the lives of the Ballantyne family, from the 1860s through the 1980’s, against a background of the history of Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). A fifth novel seeks to combine the Ballantyne narrative with that of Smith's other family saga, The Courtney Novels. The books are set in the following time periods:
1.    A Falcon Flies 1860
2.    Men of Men 1870s-1890s
3.    Triumph of the Sun 1880s
4.    The Angels Weep 1st part 1890s, 2nd part 1977
5.    The Leopard Hunts in Darkness 1980s

The Pharoah series is based in large part on Pharaoh Thutmose III's time along with his story and that of his stepmother Hatshepsut.
1.    River God
2.    The Seventh Scroll
3.    Warlock
4.    The Quest

The Seventh Scroll is set in modern times, but reflects the other three through archeological discoveries.

Critics argue that his novels contain sexist and racist assumptions and may have a political agenda. Smith now lives in London but avows an abiding concern for the peoples and wildlife of his native continent. RSAWS

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Last update: 2014-05-14 16:59
Author: Alan McIver
Revision: 1.5

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