R. C. Sherriff

On his return from the First World War, R C Sherriff settled in London, working as an insurance agent and writing plays in the evening. Journey’s End, inspired by Sherriff’s own experience of fighting, was his sixth play but the first to be given a professional production.

It was an immediate, outstanding and phenomenal success. Thirty one separate productions ran concurrently around the world and it was translated into twenty six languages. Its success, however, was both a boon and a burden — while it allowed him to give up the day job and devote himself full-time to writing, it often overshadowed his later work or was used as the yardstick against which it was measured unfavourably.

Fortunately for Sherriff he was not only a playwright but also a novelist and a screenwriter. He wrote a best-selling novel, A Fortnight In September in 1931, and the screenplays for The Invisible Man (1933), The Four Feathers (1939) and classic films such as Goodbye Mr Chips (1939), for which he received an Oscar nomination, and The Dambusters (1955).

Although Sherriff was occupied as a playwright and screenwriter he did not lose his urge to write novels and he followed the success of his first novel with The Hopkins Manuscript, Chedworth, Another Year and others. Now, while Journey’s End continues to define Sherriff’s reputation, much of his work remains ripe for rediscovery.

Books by R. C. Sherriff