For a week I have been savoring D.G. Compton's The Continuous Katherine Mortenhoe, reissued by the superb New York Review Books. Novelist and anthologist Jeff VanderMeer wrote the introduction to the NYRB edition, and I assume he wrote the brief biography at the front of the book. Whoever did wrote maybe the best short author's bio ever. How it begins:
David Guy Compton was born in London in 1930. It quickly became apparent that his parents—theater people soon to separate—were not the child-rearing sort, and they donated him to his elderly Scottish maternal grandmother, recently widowed and returned to England from colonial India. Fortunately, she was well off and happy to raise him accordingly.
Stagestruck in his teens and determined to become a playwright—after school and 18 wretched months of statutory National Service in the British army—Compton followed his parents into the theater, finding work as an assistant stage manager with a local repertory company. A year later, now 22 years old, he had a baby daughter with the wife of the director and was unsurprisingly jobless.
The 64 years since then have been classic writer's biography material: various unsuitable employments—postman, window dresser, bank guard, dockyard worker—to support family and life and constant literary activity.
Brisk and pungent and lovely.
I strongly recommend the book, available in the TSF bookstore.