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Joe Randolph Ackerley Edit Profile

also known as J. R. Ackerley

editor , writer

In 1923 his poem was included in a collection of young British writers, so he began to get recognition. In 1928, Ackerley joined the staff of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), then a year old. He worked in the "Talks" Department, which arranged radio lectures by prominent scholars and public figures, and helped create the new organization, which had extensive influence on British literary and cultural life.

Background

He met E. M. Forster and other literary bright lights, but was lonely despite numerous sexual partners.

In India he developed sexual relationships with the 20-year-old Narayan and 16-year-old Sharma, servants of the maharaja.

Education

After the war, Ackerley attended Cambridge.

Career

He moved to London after graduation, where he continued to write and enjoyed the cosmopolitan capital. In 1923 his poem was included in a collection of young British writers, so he began to get recognition.

With his play having trouble finding a producer, and feeling generally adrift and distant from his family, Ackerley turned to Forster for guidance. Forster arranged a position as secretary to the Maharaja of Chhatarpur, whom he knew from writing A Passage to India.

Ackerley spent about five months in India, which was still under British rule. He developed a strong distaste for the

several Anglo-Indians he met. Ackerley's comic memoir Hindoo Holiday explores some of his experiences. The Maharaja was homosexual, and His Majesty's obsessions and dalliances, along with Ackerley's observations about Anglo-Indians, account for much of the humor of the work.

In England, Prisoners of War was finally produced in 1925, to some acclaim. Its run began at The Three Hundred Club on 5 July 1925, then transferred to The Playhouse on 31 August. Ackerley enjoyed his success, returning to London to carouse with its theatrical crowd. Through Cambridge friends, he met the actor John Gielgud, and other rising stars of the stage.

In 1928, Ackerley joined the staff of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), then a year old. He worked in the "Talks" Department, which arranged radio lectures by prominent scholars and public figures, and helped create the new organization, which had extensive influence on British literary and cultural life. In 1935 Ackerley was selected as Literary Editor of the BBC's magazine, The Listener, and his work with it was the mainstay of his career; he served in

this position for more than two decades until 1959. During this time, he discovered and promoted many young writers, including Philip Larkin, W. H. Auden, Stephen Spender, and Christopher Isherwood. Ackerley was one of Francis

King's two mentors.

Works

  • account

    • My Dog Tulip

  • diary

    • My Sister and Myself

  • Memoir

    • Hindoo Holiday

    • My Father and Myself

  • novel

    • We Think the World of You

  • play

    • The Prisoners of War

  • poetry vollume

    • Micheldever and Other

Connections

father:
Roger Ackerley - fruit merchant

mother:
Janetta Aylward - actor

sister:
Nancy Ackerley Davis