Ronald Blythe, who turns 100 in 2022, is a distinguished writer, anthologist and ruralist whose rootedness in the Suffolk countryside has proved an inspiration for the new generation of nature writers.
Blythe was born in Suffolk and, military service aside, has lived there all his life. He is best-known, perhaps, for his fictionalised account of rural life, Akenfield: Portrait of an English Village (1969), which describes a vanishing way of life and was made into a film by Peter Hall. He once worked as an assistant to Benjamin Britten, a role in which he met Patricia Highsmith and E.M. Forster, and sustained a long friendship with the painter John Nash. Blythe calls himself ‘a listener and a watcher. I absorb, without asking questions, but I don’t forget things.’