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AUTHORS (article first published : 2005-11-3)

The Authors series on History Channel on DStv will be screened daily at 19h30 from November 7 to 11.

Authors include Lord Byron, Charles Dickens, Rudyard Kipling, Mark Twain, Jeffrey Archer and Ian Fleming.

Lord Byron - November 7 at 19h30. “Mad, Bad and Dangerous to know”. Notorious romantic hero and rock star poet, a genius obsessed by image. Sexually irresistible to both women and men - his scandals shocked the nation. Lord Byron was the 19th century superstar fated to live fast and die young. In the early 19th century, he had achieved superstardom through his poetry and lifestyle. Poetry was the rock ‘n’ roll of the age and Byron had achieved cult status as the archetypal romantic poet. Women were intoxicated with his poetry and showered him with letters of affection. He indulged his huge sexual appetite as young and old, married and single, male and female fell at his feet. Scandal lingered around these relationships creating his legend. However, rumours of sexual deviancy tainted his popularity and he fled the society that had once adored him.

Charles Dickens – November 8 at 19h30: He was one of the most original, influential, and prolific writers of the 19th Century - and one of its most charismatic figures. His tragic, deprived boyhood included watching his father confined to debtor's prison, and a year as a child labourer in a blacking factory - yet pain only served to fuel his ambitions. By his early twenties, he had already achieved popularity as a writer of "serials", leading to worldwide fame of near superstar proportions, heretofore unheard of in Victorian England. Even his genius and fame could not keep him from the deep loneliness and unrelenting ghosts that would haunt him until his death.

Rudyard Kipling - November 9 at 19h30: The story of Rudyard Kipling is a tale of paradise lost. It is the story of a literary genius who wrote some of the world’s best known and enduring books yet whose own life was filled with tragedy. Kipling was a literary giant of the twentieth century, a man whose remarkable range of work captivated not just a nation but an empire. He was the nation’s laureate, the voice of the people and he became an international superstar. His work continues to fascinate and enchant. The Jungle Book and the famous poem, If, remain as popular today as they were when published one hundred years ago. Less well-known is the private life of the man who produced such masterpieces. Kipling endured an appallingly childhood, a domineering wife, and the devastating loss of two of his children.

Mark Twain – November 10 at 19h30: Born Samuel Langhorne Clemens, the man who was to become Mark Twain grew up in Hannibal, Missouri, on the great Mississippi River, a time and place he was later to immortalise and mythologise in Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. From an early age he travelled restlessly all along the East Coast, often working as a typesetter and newspaper reporter. He returned to the Mississippi at age 22 to fulfil a childhood dream: to become a steamboat pilot. His idyllic and independent life as a pilot was shattered by the onset of the Civil War. In New York, Mark Twain met Olivia Langdon, a fragile 22 year-old daughter of American aristocracy who he eventually married. He built a magnificent mansion in Hartford, Connecticut in 1874, and in 1884 published Ulysses S followed by his most famous work, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn in 1885.

Ian Fleming – November 11 at 19h30: The creator of James Bond was much like his fictional character. Fleming was a spy, a notorious womaniser, and he liked his martinis shaken, not stirred. Part of the British aristocracy, he was a journalist, a banker, and a military man who finally wrote his first novel at age 43. Over the next 11 years, he wrote 13 Bond novels and the children's book Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Once translated to the silver screen, James Bond launched the world's longest-running series of movies. Forty years and five actors later, James Bond is the world's best-known spy.

Jeffrey Archer - November 10 at 19h30: Jeffrey Archer's life is a rags to riches story; the tale of a man with an unusual and complicated family background, who rose to become a British Lord, a multi-millionaire best-selling author, a prominent politician and friend of the rich and famous including Princess Diana and Margaret Thatcher. Yet errors of judgement have led this irrepressible man to risk both his personal and professional reputation. He has faced bankruptcy, charges of plagiarism and has been accused by the British tabloids of consorting with prostitutes. He has won and lost a number of high-profile courtroom dramas; most recently he was convicted of perjury and jailed. He went on to write a two volume best-seller based on his experiences "inside."




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