Eric Linklater was born in 1899 in Penarth, Wales. He was educated in Aberdeen, and was initially interested in studying medicine; he later switched his focus to journalism, and became a full-time writer in the 1930’s. During his career, Linklater served as a journalist in India, a commander of a wartime fortress in the Orkney Islands, and rector of Aberdeen University. He authored more than twenty novels for adults and children, in addition to writing short stories, travel pieces, and military histories, among other works.
Linklater’s writing is loved for his use of wry humour and creative turn of phrase – in his novel Juan in America, the main character describes his wife thusly: “I’ve been married six months. She looks like a million dollars, but she only knows a hundred and twenty words and she’s only got two ideas in her head. The other one’s hats.” His three children’s books are also peppered with funny rhymes and his trademark creativity. One of our favourite examples of this is the below song, one of many sung by Cully the octopus in The Pirates in the Deep Green Sea:
‘I’ve the tenderest heart in the whole of the sea,
From the Strait of Belle Isle to New Britain;
I’ve a gift of affection like honey for tea,
And I’d love to be stroked like a kitten;
But nobody ever can sit on my knee,
For I haven’t a knee she could sit on!
‘I’ve been well educated, I’ve courteous ways,
I don’t often talk indiscreetly;
I’ve eight sensitive arms, and I’ve learnt how to play
Upon four grand pianos quite neatly—
And yet ladies avoid my embrace, for they say
They don’t like to be hemmed-in completely.
‘I’ve an up-to-date mind, I appreciate art,
I’d make an extremely good parent;
But a very grave handicap keeps me apart
From all social pleasures—I daren’t
Appear in a place where one has to look smart,
For my stomach, you see, is transparent!’
-Eric Linklater, The Pirates in the Deep Green Sea
Bloomsbury Reader brings you some of Eric Linklater’s most popular titles in ebook and print on demand, including Ripeness is All, Juan in China, and The Dark of Summer. For a full list of Eric Linklater titles published by BR, click here.