Arthur Hailey, British-Canadian novelist, was born on 5 April 1920, and turns 100 today. An only child, he was born in Luton, Bedfordshire, and began writing stories and poems at an early age; he was also an avid reader. He left school at the age of 14 because his parents lacked the money to pay for his further education, and he failed to win the scholarship he needed. His writing career began in 1955 with a script Flight into Danger, which was purchased by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, and went on to be a great hit. He went on to write for several shows. In 1959, he adapted his teleplay and brought out his first novel, Final Diagnosis. He went on to write 11 novels in all (10 in the wikipedia list). Not a critical favourite, he described himself as a story-teller. Most of his works have been adapted for the screen, as films, or miniseries. Here are some interesting facts about Hailey.

  • Hailey started his career as an office worker. (His mother had encouraged him to learn typing and short-hand.
  • He served in the RAF, which he joined in 1939, eventually rising to the rank of Flight-lieutenant.
  • He is known for his extensively researched books, each usually set around a particular industry. He is said to have spent three years on each book, spending a year on research, half a year on organising his notes, and the rest of the time writing.
  • His research for Hotel included reading 27 books, and for The Evening News, he even tracked rebel guerrillas in Peru.
  • His fourth book, Airport brought him international fame, spending 30 weeks as number 1 on the New York Times bestseller list. The film adaptation of Airport starting Burt Lancaster and Dean Martin was nominated for 10 Academy awards.
  • He moved to Canada in 1947 because of red tape in England, later to the United States, and again to the Bahamas (after the success of Airport) to avoid taxes.
  • His books have been translated into 38 languages and have sold 160 million copies (170 according to Wikipedia).

Have you read any books by Hailey? Which ones and how did you like them? Looking forward to your thoughts!

My Shelf Control post this week also featured one of his books (here).

2 thoughts on “Arthur Hailey: Interesting Facts on his 100th

  1. One of my favourite authors. I started with “Hotel” and steadily read my way through whichever book I could get my hands on. Just love the way he gets into the nitty gritty of whichever industry he picks. The reader in turn, gains a full understanding of a sector, which maybe totally unknown to her.

    Liked by 2 people

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