Thistle Publishing Home News Authors About Books

Joyce Cary

Joyce Cary was born in 1888 into an old Anglo-Irish family and educated at Clifton. He studied art, first in Edinburgh and then in Paris, before going up to Trinity College, Oxford, in 1909 to read law. On coming down he served as a Red Cross orderly in the Balkan War of 1912-13, the inspiration for Memoir of the Bobotes, before joining the Nigerian Political Service.

He served in the Nigeria Regiment during the First World War, was wounded while fighting in the Cameroons, and returned to civil duty in Nigeria in 1917 as a district officer. His time in Africa provided the inspiration for his first four novels. Though he settled in Oxford as a full-time writer in 1920, it was not until 1932 that his first book was published. At the time of his death in 1957, he was recognised as one of the leading novelists in the world.

Cary is probably best known as a novelist and especially for Mister Johnson and ‘The First Triptych’ (Herself Surprised, To Be a Pilgrim and The Horse’s Mouth) in which the three main protagonists narrate their interlocking experiences and reveal their contrasting personalities. However he was also a fine short story writer, essayist and poet.


A Fearful Joy

A House of Children

Aissa Saved

An American Visitor

Castle Corner

Charley is my Darling

Except the Lord

Herself Surprised

Memoir of the Bobotes

Mister Johnson

Not Honour More

Prisoner of Grace

Spring Song and other stories

The African Witch

The Captive and the Free

The Horse's Mouth

The Moonlight

To Be a Pilgrim