Winston Graham at his desk

Winston Graham


Winston Graham was born Winston Grime on the 30th of June 1908. At 17 years old, he moved to Perranporth on the coast of South West Cornwall. He lived there for thirty-four years. Graham eventually settled in East Sussex with his wife, Jean Williamson, and their two children.

From 1945 he was a member of the Society of Authors and a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. He was awarded the title of Officer of the Order of the British Empire in 1983 for his contributions to the arts.

He died on the 10th of July 2003.

Writing Career

Winston Graham wanted to be a writer from a young age, and is best known for his historical series Poldark, inspired by, and set in Cornwall. Spanning twelve novels first published in 1945 and concluding in 2002, the series has remained popular due to its most recent adaptation to TV in 2015.

Although Poldark may now be his most renowned work, he was also well known for suspense novels including The Little Walls (1955), Marnie (1961) and The Walking Stick (1967). He wrote four plays, two of which were first performed in Cornwall, Seven Suspected at Perranporth 1933, and Values at a drama festival in Truro 1936.

Other Cornish novels include The Grove of Eagles set in Elizabethan Cornwall depicting the growth of Falmouth.

His legacy

In 2008, The Royal Cornwall Museum held an exhibition showcasing Graham’s writings to coincide with the centenary of his birth. Many of his manuscripts have since been donated to the Royal Institution of Cornwall by his children, Andrew Graham and Rosemund Barteau.

With the release of the BBC TV series Poldark in 2015, PanMacmillan republished editions of the novels and also reissued Graham’s semi-autobiographical book of Cornwall.

Since 2015, five series of Poldark have aired on TV.

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