Facts about C.S. Forester

C.S. Forester died at 66 years old
Born: August 27, 1899
Died: April 2, 1966
Birthplace: Cairo, Egypt
Best known as: The author of the Horatio Hornblower series of novels

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C.S. Forester Biography

Name at birth: Cecil Louis Troughton Smith

Author C.S. Forester was a bestselling author in his day, known especially for his series of naval adventures featuring the hero Horatio Hornblower.

Born in Cairo but raised in England, Cecil Louis Troughton Smith kept his personal background hazy as he built a name for himself as a writer — a writer named Cecil Scott “C.S.” Forester.

His first big success came with Payment Deferred, a 1926 novel that was adapted as a play (1931) and a movie (1932).

Crime and adventure novels followed one after the other with Plain Murder (1930), Death to the French (1932), The Gun (1933) and The African Queen (1935).

Hollywood called and Forester spent most of the 1930s as a sometime screenwriter, while still publishing fiction and nonfiction books.

Forester was in his late 30s when he published his first Horatio Hornblower book. Over the next 25 years he published 10 more novels featuring Hornblower, an 18th century British naval commander.

The series sold millions of copies and made Forester world famous.

After 1943 Forester was less mobile, due to arteriosclerosis. He continued to be a prolific author and completed three dozen novels and five biographies, two plays and three books for young readers.

C.S. Forester moved to Berkeley, California after World War II and lived there the rest of his life.

His Hornblower novels (which were not written in chronological order) include: Beat to Quarters; Commodore Hornblower; Mr. Midshipman Hornblower; Hornblower and the Atropos; Admiral Hornblower in the West Indies; and Hornblower and the Hotspur.

Extra credit

Many of C.S. Forester’s works have been adapted for the big screen and for television, the most notable being the 1951 film version of The African Queen, which starred Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn, was directed by John Huston and written by James Agee.


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