H. E. Bates was born in Northamptonshire in 1905. He published his first novel, The Two Sisters, when he was twenty, and for the next decade became reputed as a writer of great versatility. During WWII the RAF commissioned him as a short story writer where he wrote the acclaimed How Sleep the Brave and The Greatest People in the World. His most popular creation was the effervescent Larkin family about whom he wrote five novels including The Darling Buds of May. In 1973 H. E. Bates was awarded the CBE. He died in 1974.