Over his long lifetime - he celebrated his ninety-third birthday in February 2022 - Len Deighton has fulfilled many roles: author, journalist, husband and father, travel writer, graphic designer, air steward and philatelic expert.
He's met some fascinatingly interesting people - John Lennon, Bertrand Russell, General Nehring of the Wehrmacht and Sir Laurance Olivier, to name but a few - and had an incredible life journey from his London working-class childhood to his status as one of the grand knights of British writing.
In this section you'll find some basic biographical information and supporting information about Deighton. You'll also find some quotes by the author, quotes by reviewers and readers about the author, who is still going strong and enjoying a well-earned retirement, some examples of his journalism, and some interesting and little-known facts.
Plus, you can read five exclusive interviews with the Deighton Dossier and its readers on the dedicated interviews page. And discover readers' thoughts on what his books mean to them, to mark his ninetieth birthday.
Read more about the author below.
Len Deighton is now in well-earned retirement and on 18 February 2019, celebrated his 90th birthday. Having enjoyed a fifty-year career as a writer. He is still writing and continues to impact on popular culture, for example through the recent BBC TV adaption of SS-GB.
He has led an interesting and varied life which has informed much of his writing: his working class childhood in London shaped the theme of hypocrisy which permeates much of his fiction; his time in the RAF just after the Second World War flying photographic intelligence missions fuelled his interest in aero technology; his time as an art student in Soho led to him listening to fascinating tales from London's demi monde, some of which made their way into his early fiction.
He has experienced a life full of great stories which has influenced his own storytelling.
Read more about his life below in this brief biography.
Although Deighton's predilection is not to talk extensively to the media if he can help it, in the course of numerous PR tours, interviews and marketing campaigns for the dozens of books and films he's written he has come up with some pithy and eminently repeatable quotes about his own works, the worlds in which his novels are set and the whole process of writing.
Below is a selection of quotes by the author which provide an insight into the author's outlook on the world.
Pretty much all of Len Deighton's books, and the films and TV series based on them, have attracted comment - largely positive - from reviewers, other writers, celebrities and the wider, book-reading public. For many book reviewers, Deighton's fiction - certainly in the 'sixties and 'seventies - provided a breath of fresh air to the spy fiction and thriller genre and many of their review quotes aptly reflect how readers reacted to the books and films.
The book-reading public in the UK, USA and the rest of the English-speaking world has over the decades bought millions of copies of Deighton's books. They've also been translated into over twenty languages around the world. As well as garnering positive comments from his peers in the world of writing, Deighton has also had a number of famous readers over the years who've referenced their enjoyment of his writing. Some of them are quoted below.
This selection of quotes provides an insight into the level of impact that Deighton's ideas and texts have had down the decades on a wide variety of audiences.
Over a number of decades Len Deighton has frequently written for the media, both newspaper articles, features on military history and often travelogues, most notably when employed as the travel editor-at-large for Playboy magazine. A selection of his original journalism is accessible below.
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