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Eric Arthur Blair [George Orwell] (1903–1950) by Felix H. Man, c. 1947 © Estate of Felix H. Man / National Portrait Gallery, London

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Blair, Eric Arthur [pseud. George Orwell] (1903–1950), political writer and essayist, was born in Motihari, Bengal, India, on 25 June 1903, the only son of Richard Walmesley Blair (1857–1938), a sub-deputy opium agent in the government of Bengal, and his wife, Ida Mabel Limouzin (1875–1943)...

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Davies, (William Thomas) Pennar (1911–1996), poet, novelist, and Welsh nationalist, was born in Mountain Ash, Glamorgan, on 12 November 1911, the eldest of four children and only son of Joseph Davies, a coalminer, and Edith Anne (née Moss), his wife. Despite the family's disadvantaged circumstances, ...

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Harry Summerfield Hoff (1910–2002) by Sally Soames, 1990 The Times / NI Syndication ; photograph National Portrait Gallery, London

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Hoff, Harry Summerfield [pseud. William Cooper] (1910–2002), novelist and civil servant, was born on 4 August 1910 at 99 Brooklyn Street, Monks Coppenhall, Crewe, Cheshire, the only son of Ernest Hoff and his wife, Edith Annie, née Summerfield, both elementary school teachers (though his father was soon to spend four years as an army officer on the western front). In an impressionistic memoir, ...