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Author photo. Courtesy of the <a href="http://digitalgallery.nypl.org/nypldigital/id?1120881">NYPL Digital Gallery</a> (image use requires permission from the New York Public Library)

Courtesy of the NYPL Digital Gallery (image use requires permission from the New York Public Library)

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Nevil Shute Norway was born in Ealing, London, England, on January, 17 1899. At the age of 11, Norway played truant from his first preparatory school in Hammersmith. After he was discovered, he was sent to the Dragon School, Oxford, and from there to Shrewsbury. He was on holiday in Dublin at the time of the Easter rising of 1916 and acted as an ambulance driver, winning a commendation for gallant conduct. He then entered the Royal Military Academy, intending to be commissioned into the Royal Flying Corps, but a bad stammer led to his being failed at his final medical examination and returned to civil life. The last few months of the war were spent on home service as a private in the Suffolk Regiment. In 1919, Norway went to Balliol College, Oxford, where he took a third class honors course in engineering science in 1922. During the vacations he worked, unpaid, as an aeronautical engineer, for the Aircraft Manufacturing Company at Hendon, and then for Geoffrey de Havilland's own firm, which he joined as an employee upon finishing at Oxford. He learned to fly and gained experience as a test observer. During the evenings he diligently wrote novels and short stories unperturbed by rejection slips from publishers. In 1924 Norway took the post of Chief Calculator to the Airship Guarantee Company, to work on the construction of the R100. In 1929 he became Deputy Chief Engineer under Barnes Wallis, and in the following year he flew to and from Canada in the R100. After the end of the airship project, jobs were hard to come by due to the depression so Shute started an aircraft manufacturing company, Airspeed Limited. This company was ultimately successful and built a large number of aircraft during the war. Shute remained joint managing director until 1938. When the business became too routine, he decided to get out of the rut and live by writing. The de Havillands, the first aviation job Shute had ever had, wound up buying Airspeed Ltd. He had by then enjoyed some success as a novelist and had sold the film rights of Lonely Road and Ruined City. At the outbreak of war in 1939, Norway joined the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve as a Sub-Lieutenant in the Miscellaneous Weapons Department. Rising to Lieutenant Commander, he found experimenting with secret weapons a job after his own heart. But he found that his growing celebrity as a writer caused him to be in the Normandy landings on 6th June 1944, for the Ministry of Information, and to be sent to Burma as a correspondent in 1945. He entered Rangoon with the 15th Corps from Arakan. Soon after demobilisation in 1945 he emigrated to Australia and made his home in Langwarrin, Victoria. His output of novels, which began with Marazan (1926) continued to the end. Shute was one of the leading aeronautical engineers in Britain during the 30's and a fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society. When he began writing in the 20's, he feared that a reputation as a writer of fiction might harm his engineering career. For this reason he published under his two Christian names, Nevil Shute and engineered under his "real" name, Nevil S. Norway. Nevil Shute Norway died in Melbourne on January, 12 1960. (Bowker Author Biography)
— biography from On the Beach
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