P.H. Newby, who died in 1997, was a perpetual high achiever – he was a novelist and BBC mandarin who in 1969 became the first winner of the Booker Prize (for Something to Answer For).

Newby, who saw wartime service in the British Expeditionary Force and as a corporal stretcher-bearer in Egypt, was the author of some 23 novels as well as several works of biography and Egyptian history. The majority of his writing career, including as fiction reviewer for The Listener, ran in tandem to his roles at the BBC, where he eventually rose to become Controller of Radio 3 and then managing director of BBC Radio. His achievements at the corporation included giving greater prominence to both classical music and literary programmes.