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Ackerley, J(oseph) R(andolph)

(British, 1896–1967)

Ackerley was the influential literary editor of the Listener magazine, working for the BBC from 1928 to 1959. His books span autobiography and fiction, and were controversial for their portrayal of homosexual lifestyles and implicit advocacy of animal rights. They are highly engaging, cast as voyages of discovery in which the author's expectations are increasingly confounded. Hindoo Holiday (1932) depicts his time spent at the court of an extravagantly gay Indian Maharajah, observing sexual and social tensions among the servants and others. We Think the World of You (1960) comically develops the acquisition of an Alsatian bitch alongside the narrator's attachment to her previous owner, a working-class married man. Ackerley's best-known book was published posthumously, partly due to its sexual frankness. My Father and Myself (1968) is a minor classic, beginning as a family memoir but gradually revealing his father's secret life and his own.

E. M. Forster, Jocelyn Brooke  JS

Additional topics

Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionBooks & Authors: Award-Winning Fiction (A-Bo)