James Hilton (9 September 1900 – 20 December 1954) was an English novelist best remembered for several best-sellers, including Lost Horizon and Goodbye, Mr. Chips.
He also wrote Hollywood screenplays.
In 1933 would ensure that Hilton had finally arrived. He was asked to write a 3,000 word short story for the magazine The British Weekly. After a week without inspiration he went cycling “in a blue funk” on a foggy winter morning in Epping Forest until “suddenly an idea bobbed up and (he) saw the whole story in a flash”. In four days he had written a story about an elderly, much-loved schoolmaster which he entitled Goodbye, Mr Chips.
It was an immediate success both in Britain and America and by early 1934 Hilton was a best-selling author. There was an insatiable appetite to read his work and all of his earlier novels were reissued.
Did You Know?..
Hilton’s first novel, Catherine Herself, was published in 1920 while he was still an undergraduate.