Henry Williamson (1895–1977) was born in Brockley, London. During the First World War he served at the front as an infantryman and later as a transport officer. In 1921 he left London for rural north Devon, where, apart from a period as a farmer in Norfolk from 1937 to 1946, he lived and worked as a writer for the rest of his life. Tarka the Otter, his seventh book, was awarded the Hawthornden Prize in 1928. He published some fifty books in all, among them The Patriot’s Progress, Salar the Salmon, and a fifteen-volume semiautobiographical novel cycle, A Chronicle of Ancient Sunlight. He contributed numerous articles to newspapers and periodicals and broadcast regularly on BBC radio. He was married twice and had eight children.