John le Carré (David Cornwell)

portrait of John le Carre
At "Zeit Forum Kultur" in Hamburg, Germany. Photo by Krimidoedel (10 November 2008)

Born: 19 October 1961, Poole, Dorset, England, UK

David John Moore Cornwell was born at Poole, Dorset, England on this day in 1931. His father made and lost several fortunes, associated with the Kray twins (prominent London gangsters of the '50s and '60s), and was engaged in various swindles and confidence games which led to prison time for fraud. His mother left when David was five, they met again when he was 21 but when she died he sent a check to pay for the memorial service but didn't attend. Disliking British public school, he spent two years at Berne University (Switzerland), then served two years as a German-language interrogator with the British Army's Intelligence Corps in Austria. Attracted to espionage as a career, he studied modern languages at Lincoln College, Oxford before he joined the Foreign Service and was posted to Germany in 1960, while secretly working for MI6. Cornwell started writing spy novels based a little on his experience but mostly on his own invention. The agency cleared publication but required he publish under an alias, he chose John Le Carré. The infamous double agent Kim Philby blew his cover in 1964, so Cornwell turned to his novels full time, as of A Delicate Truth (2013) there have been 23 novels to date. He lives with his second wife Valerie Eustace (m. 1972) along the mile of Cornish cliff he owns, apparently he plans to spend the rest of his time there quietly writing, walking, swimming, and drinking — he has stated that he will give no further interviews.

Biography from Wikipedia

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