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Son of singer Joseph Campbell McInnes and novelist Angela Thirkell, Colin MacInnes was born in London, raised in Australia, and returned to England in 1930. He served the UK in WWII, after which he wrote his first novel, To the Victor the Spoils, and worked for BBC Radio until he could earn a living writing.

He was openly bisexual, and though obviously in love with the city of London, remained relatively realistic about urban life. This is reflected in his writing, which often addresses race relations of the day, urban squalor, and includes frank and realistic depictions of gay and lesbian characters.
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