Biography of John Wyndham

John Wyndham was born John Wyndham Parkes Lucas Beynon Harris in England in 1903. He grew up in the Birmingham suburb of Edgbaston. When he was 8 years old his parents divorced. He was then sent to a private boarding school, the Bedales School in Hampshire. After trying a few careers, including farming, law, art, and advertising, he began writing in 1925; in 1931 he began selling his short stories to American science-fiction pulp magazines under the pen name John Beynon or John Beynon Harris. His first novel was The Secret People (1935), a juvenile science fiction novel set in an underground world (“Wyndham, John"). He continued writing until 1939, when World War II came to Britain. He worked during the war as a government censor for the Ministry of Information.

After World War II, the author began writing under the pen name John Wyndham. These works fit into the genre of Scientific Romance, a genre shaped by HG Wells (“Wyndham, John"). HG Wells was a major influence on Wyndham, and their novels are often compared to one another (“Wyndham, John (John Beynon Harris)”). Wyndham published his first novel, The Day of the Triffids, in 1951; it tells a story of a society that is all simultaneously blinded while also being taken over by carnivorous plants. The Chrysalids, released in 1955, is generally considered one of his best novels. He also published The Kraken Wakes (1953) and The Midwich Cuckoos (1957), the latter of which was adapted multiple times into movies (“Wyndham, John"). Wyndham’s books continue to appear on school syllabuses in the UK (“Wyndham, John"). Wyndham died in 1969.

Study Guides on Works by John Wyndham

The Chrysalids is a science fiction novel written by John Wyndham. He wrote the book shortly after World War II. At that time, England was still recovering from the effects of WWII, while also managing the threat of the Cold War. Wyndham’s novel...