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This blog makes liberal use of AB's journals, letters, travel notes, and other sources.

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Saturday, 23 February 2013

Writing for a living

Wednesday, February 23rd., Fulham Park Gardens, London.

Sitting with me in his dark little office at Black and White after lunch, Eden Philpotts, heavily wrapped up and pale after a long attack of influenza, told me something of his life. After leaving school at seventeen, he came to London and entered an insurance office. His first idea was to be an actor. He studied elocution etc. at the School of Dramatic Art, and after two years found he was unfitted entirely for acting. Then, having already written a little, he turned to literature with seriousness. For eight years he wrote from 6 to 9 in the evening. At the end of that time he could earn £400 a year by his pen. He left the insurance office, married, and lived by his pen comfortably till Black and White offered him, through his agent, the post of assistant editor. As this meant an assured revenue he accepted it. He works three days a week, machine-writing, free from responsibility, and the rest of the time he gives to novels and short stories.

Eden Phillpotts (1862 – 1960) was an English author, poet and dramatist. He was born in Mount Abu, British India, educated in Plymouth, Devon, and worked as an insurance officer for 10 years before studying for the stage and eventually becoming a writer. He co-wrote two plays with his daughter Adelaide Phillpotts. 
He was the author of many novels, plays and poems about Dartmoor. His Dartmoor cycle of 18 novels and two volumes of short stories still have many avid readers despite the fact that many titles are out of print. Phillpotts also wrote many other books with a Dartmoor setting. He was for many years the President of the Dartmoor Preservation Association and cared passionately about the conservation of Dartmoor. 

Today I publish my first book, "A Man from the North". I have seen it mentioned in several papers among "Books Received". Beyond that, I have scarcely thought of it. The fact has not at the moment interested me. But during the last few days I have been several times naively surprised that some of my friends are not more awake and lively to the fact than they seem to be. Perhaps it has interested me more than I thought?
Drove to Monmouth yesterday and stopped en route at Ross on Wye. Grey, cold, bone aching sort of day. S. not feeling too well but being brave. Hoping for a pleasant weekend exploring the local area in spite of the weather!

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