Novelist – CS Forester

Forester’s most well-known World War One story is The African Queen, the film rather than the book. I’ve written on this before, there being numerous versions of the story with the book having more on the actual campaign than the film. His only book on World War 1 Africa is The African Queen inspired by a poster he saw in a London tube station after his agent pressured him to write something again. The events he writes about in the book happened when he was 16 years old.

The film released in 1964 has its own story to tell. Katherine Hepburn wrote of her experiences of the filming in The Making of the African Queen or How I went to Africa with Bogart, Bacall and Huston and Almost Lost my Mind (and I see there’s a Youtube version too). And in case you weren’t aware there is another book and film of the time leading up to the making of The African Queen. This by Peter Viertel who tidied up the script of the film and tried to keep Huston on the straight and narrow. His account in both film and book are under the title White Hunter, Black Heart. Interestingly, in neither Hepburn nor Viertel’s account does CS Forester feature.

1899 – Born, 27 August in Cairo, Egypt
1921 – starts writing, using pen name of Cecil Scott Forester rather than his birth name Cecil Louis Troughton Smith
1924 – First novel published A pawn among kings
1926 – married
1935 – Published The African Queen
1945 – divorced
1947 – married
1951 – Film The African Queen released
1966 – Died, 2 April in California

Books on World War 1

The African Queen (1935)


The CS Forester Society
Wikipedia – for a clear layout of publications and dates

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