William Plomer moved at the centre of English writing and publishing at a time when he could count among his friends such figures as Virginia Woolf, the Sitwells, E.M.Forster, Roy Campbell, Laurens van der Post and many others. Born in South Africa in 1903, he came to prominence with his powerful novel of micegenation, "Turbott Wolfe". He co-founded the magazine "Voorslag" with Roy Campbell and Van der Post and spent two years in Japan before settling in England in 1929. It was there that he was befriended by the Woolfs, and made a wide circle of literary acquaintances. As principal reader to the publisher Jonathan Cape in the 1930s, he was instrumental in bringing such talented newcomers as Arthur Koestler, Ted Hughes, Stevie Smith, John Betjeman, Vladimer Nabokov and Ian Fleming to public attention. He was also responsible for the publication of Francis Kilvert, the Victorian clergyman whose diaries Plomer edited, and who is now recognized as one of the greatest English diarists.;In addition to writing five novels, Plomer produced 10 volumes of verse, and his poetry, especially his ballads, influenced poets as diverse as W.H.Auden, Frank Sargeson and Charles Causley. He wrote the librettos for several of Benjamin Britten's operas, including "Gloriana" in 1952.;As an adult, Plomer had to come to terms with the fact that he was a homosexual. He evaded the issue entirely in his published auto-biographies while admitting privately that it was central to his life and work. In this authorized biography of William Plomer, Peter Alexander has dealt frankly with this aspect of his subject to produce a portrait of the man and his circle.