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Simon Andrew North was born in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk in 1960 and followed the Army drum with his Father to Munster in Germany and to Kilve in Somerset.

Left Sam in Munster 1962

When his father left the army in 1963 he lived in quick succession near Welwyn Garden City, Whipsnade and Nottingham.

At Whipsnade, and a few days after John Kennedy was assassinated, he nearly died himself from a severe attack of asthma which was to bedevil him until the age of 8.

At Nottingham he stood up to tell the school that “dinner” should be called “lunch” when he was then informed that the main meal of the day should be called dinner.

Following the separation of his parents he lived with his Mother and Sister in Oare House with Molly and Nigel Worthington (sort of adopted aunt and uncle, great characters) in the Lorna Doone Valley a most lovely place that must have kicked off his love of Somerset and then Devon.

 He attended Ravenswood Preparatory School where he seemed happy. When his mother remarried Eric Reynolds, he lived on a Dartmoor Farm, near Chagford. Much of his holidays were spent on horseback in a dripping wet riding coat!

At he age of 13 he had a year at Kings College Taunton, but asked to be taken away, as he was uncomfortable with the other boys having wealthy parents. His life up to this point had been simple  with the emphasis on a healthy outdoor life with many luxuries. Certainly his mother and step father were not very well off During this period he did not see his father, Jeremy who was living in America and not much help arrived from that quarter either.

He joined his sister at QES Comprehensive in Crediton where he developed a love of writing and drama. Indeed by 1976, he knew he wanted to write and did any job that allowed him to do so. Groom, Waiter, Messenger, Vehicle repairs, Building Sites but he fitted in travel to France, Italy, Switzerland and South America too.   

In 1979 he went to Middlesex Polytechnic (Humanities) achieving a degree in English Drama, Art History and Philosophy. He lived variously in Tottenham, in a converted British Rail truck and in Muswell Hill.

 His father, by now back in England, remembers the truck with its double bed and simple washing arrangements being parked outside his suburban house in Kingston, to the horror of his third wife, Dawn. His father`s idea of helping him through his student days was to grant him an allowance at Moss Brothers of 20 per month, not realizing the style was hardly suitable for a North London student in the late 1970s.

 Left: here he is with his step sister Natasha  during that period .      

 There followed another period of working at all sorts of jobs in order to keep writing, including: painting and decorating, film runner and fight sequences for pop videos. He lived in Hackney, Brixton, Clapham.

In 1986 to 1987 he was a student again, gaining a PQE in film from arguably the best film school in the Uk at Bournemouth and Poole College of Art and Design. He found himself writing scripts for the other students and made many contacts in the film world which were to stand him in good stead later.

By 1987 he was house sitting and writing the “Automatic Man” his first book which was to win him the Somerset Maugham prize for literature awarded annually to the best first book written by a young author.

His father Jeremy says: “I had agreed with Sam that if he had not had a book published  by the time he was 30 that he would get a proper job. I wonder if he would have followed that advice or kept writing.... I suspect the latter.  ”  

Everything changed. From 1988 to 1995 he was working for Worldwide Pictures.

Here he is in 1988 receiving his prize from the Prince of Wales.

He wrote proposals and scripts for corporate proposals, for Arena and Equinox documentaries, developing drama series for Channel Four, the BBC and ITV. This was a prolific time for writing novels too: three books. 

The changes in his life continued. Living in Kentish Town and then Muswell Hill he married his childhood sweetheart Abigail, who romantically was born on the same day of the same year. Three children followed: Esme, Diggory and Louie.  

Between 1995 and 1997 he was writing freelance living in both Muswell Hill and a country home on Dartmoor next to his sister, where he wrote “The lie of the Land” which used her hill side farm as background.

In 1997 he became a director of the literary agent AP Watt, running the film department but in 2000 moved to Dartmoor .

Between then and 2007 he wrote three more books, as well as ghost writing two others and several film projects.  He commuted to London once a week, as a part time director of literary agent Conville and Walsh 

Above: Sam with Esme in 1993 

In 2007 he was appointed lecturer in creative writing at the University of Exeter and in 2008 is really enjoying the post. He is currently writing an untitled book and a pantomime.

His father comments:  “Sam is a strong family man and it is a delight to stay at their house and feel the bond with Abigail the Children and his mother Annabelle who lives close by.  He has good ties to with his sister, nephew and niece who live 30 minutes across the moors. The house is usually full of friends. 

Sam North and his books go:

Notes written November 2008 by his father Jeremy Iles-North





















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