Life & Times
Winston Graham was born on 30th June, 1908 in Victoria Park, Manchester, England. At the age of 17, following the
illness of his father, the family moved to Perranporth, Cornwall. Winston started writing as a child and apart from
coastguard duty during the war he was a full-time writer all his life. His first published novel, The House with the
Stained Glass Windows
, came out in 1934; his last, Bella Poldark
, was published in 2002. Just before he died he
completed his autobiography, Memoirs of a Private Man
, which was published posthumously by Pan Macmillan in
2003. He was Chairman of the Society of Authors and fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. In 1963 he was
honoured with an OBE.
Winston married Jean Williamson in September, 1939. He had first met her in 1926 when she was 13. Jean was a
constant source of encouragement, stories and ideas and the soul-mate with whom he talked over everything he
wrote. Some have compared Jean to Demelza (who, in the Poldarks, Ross first meets when Demelza was also 13).
Winston denied this but both friends and family have often remarked on the many similarities in character between
Demelza and Jean. They had two children, Andrew and Rosamund. Andrew became an academic and Master of
Balliol College, Oxford (2001-2011). He lives in Oxford with his wife, Peggotty. Rosamund went to the USA where she
met her husband Douglas Barteau (sadly now deceased). They produced three grandchildren, Max, Dominic and
Anthea and, so far, there are seven great-grandchildren.
In his youth Winston was a keen tennis player, recording in his diaries how many sets he played each day, along with
a daily comment on the weather! He lived in Perranporth from 1925 until 1959, briefly in the South of France in
1960 and then settled in East Sussex. However the call of Cornwall always remained strong, both for him and the
rest of the family, and for many summers Rosamund and Douglas and the grandchildren joined Winston and Jean at
the Crantock Bay Hotel in West Pentire for a re-injection of Cornish air.
Although it is the Poldarks that brought Winston Graham the most fame, he wrote more than thirty other novels, six
of which have been filmed, including Marnie directed by Alfred Hitchcock in 1964. He also wrote short stories,
historical works, plays and film scripts. For the full list of novels use the drop down menu bar. His novels are
translated into well over twenty different languages.