Laurie Lee (1914-1997) was best known as the author of Cider With Rosie, the story of his childhood in the Cotswolds village of Slad. This poignant and beautifully written tale was the first of four autobiographical works. Lee’s first love, however was poetry, and he published four collections, including The Sun My Monument and The Bloom of Candles. His body of work also included travel books, plays and paintings.
Cider with Rosie is an evocative tale of an idyllic countryside childhood soon after the First World War. Having sold more than six million copies worldwide, this bestselling book has been adapted for both film and television.
At the age of nineteen, Laurie Lee walked to London and then travelled on foot through Spain, chronicling this journey in As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning. In the winter of 1937, Lee returned to Spain, a country now in the grip of the Civil War, crossing the Pyrenees to fight with the International Brigade and recounting his experience in A Moment of War. Lee’s continuing affection for Spain can be seen in A Rose for Winter, which describes his experience of travelling through a post-Civil War Andalusia.
Lee drew on his own experiences for a number of his other works, writing the story of his relationship with his wife Kathy in Two Women
and about their daughter Jessy in The Firstborn
. In addition to his literary works, Lee was also an accomplished painter.
Lee received numerous awards throughout his career, including the Atlantic Award (1944), the Society of Authors Travelling Award (1951), the William Foyle Poetry Prize (1956) and the W.H. Smith and Son Award (1960). In 2003 the British Library acquired Lee's original manuscripts, letters and diaries. 2014 marks the centenary of Laurie Lee’s birth.
“He had a nightingale inside him, a capacity for sensuous, lyrical precision.”