Kingsley Amis (1922 – 1995)

Sir Kingsley Amis (April 16, 1922 - October 22, 1995) was an English novelist, poet, critic, and teacher.

He was the author of twenty novels, three collections of poetry, a number of short stories, and ten books of social or literary criticism.

Born in London, he was educated at the City of London School and St. John's College, Oxford. After service in the army with the Royal Corps of Signals he completed his university studies in 1947 and then worked as a lecturer in English at the University of Wales Swansea (1948-61) and in Cambridge (1961-63).

Amis achieved popular success with his first novel Lucky Jim, which is often considered the exemplary novel of the Fifties. The novel won the Somerset Maugham Award for fiction and Amis was placed in a group of young writers labelled Angry Young Men. Lucky Jim is considered a seminal work, the first to feature an ordinary person as anti-hero.

Amis had long been interested in science fiction. His book The Green Man, later adapted as a television production by the BBC

As a young man, Amis was a vocal Stalinist and member of the Communist Party. He became increasingly disillusioned with communism, the final break occuring with the Soviet invasion of Hungry in 1956. Thereafter, Amis became stridently anti-communist, even reactionary. His change of political heart was discussed in his 1967 essay "Russian Hide and Seek" (1980).

He was married twice, first in 1948 to Hilary. In 1965, he married novelist Elizabeth Howard; they divorced in 1983. He had three children: two sons, including Martin Amis, and a daughter. He was knighted in 1990.

Books by Kingsley Amis