Francis King wrote some 30 novels but believed he was never viewed as a major writer because ‘the public tends to like its novelists to write the same novel over and over again’.
King died in 2011 after a long career as a writer, literary critic and theatre reviewer. Although he came of age during the Second World War, he was a conscientious objector and spent the war years on a farm in Essex. The same fearlessness was in evidence when he came out as homosexual in the 1970s. As well as writing, King worked for decades for the British Council and became President of PEN International. Having judged the Booker Prize, he experienced the other side of the coin when his novel The Nick of Time was longlisted in 2003. He also had his novel A Domestic Animal on the longlist for The Lost Man Booker Prize.