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John Hampson, pseudonym of John Simpson Biography

(1901–55), pseudonym of John Simpson, Saturday Night at the Greyhound, O Providence, Strip Jack Naked

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British novelist, born in Birmingham into a theatrical family; he grew up in poverty and was educated at home. From 1914 to 1918 he worked as a billiard marker and a chef, amongst other jobs, and his knowledge of hotel life provided material for his fiction. His first novel, Saturday Night at the Greyhound (1931), set mainly in a Derbyshire pub, concerns the devotion of an introverted young man for his married sister. Other novels include O Providence (1932), about a large Midlands family, based on his own, and the relationship between an older and a younger boy; Strip Jack Naked (1934), which assembles its characters around the deathbed of a rich Birmingham widow; and Care of the Grand (1939). Hampson became one of the ‘Birmingham Group’ of novelists, which also included Walter Brierley and Walter Allen; most of his works provide insights into provincial life in the Midlands in a poetic, but realistic, manner. His last novel, Bag of Stones (1952), describing the murderous resentment of a mentally retarded boy towards his father, is based on Hampson's experience as tutor to a mentally handicapped boy. Hampson was a friend of E. M. Forster, W. H. Auden, Graham Greene, and Louis MacNeice.

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