Samuel Pepys (1633 – 1703): administrator of the navy of England and Member of Parliament who is most famous for the diary he kept for a decade while still a relatively young man.
Anthony Trollope (1815 – 1882): English novelist best-known for his series of novels The Chronicles of Barsetshire, set in the imaginary county of Barsetshire but initially inspired by a visit to Salisbury.
Henry James (1843 – 1916): American novelist and, as a naturalized English citizen from 1915, a great figure in transatlantic culture. His fundamental theme was the innocence and exuberance of the New World meeting the challenges of sophisticated European society.
John Taylor (1578 – 1653) was a native of Gloucester who became a London waterman. Known in his lifetime and ever since as the ‘Water-Poet’, he wrote some two hundred pamphlets on a wide range of subjects as well as descriptions of fourteen journeys around Britain and the continent.
Edward Thomas (1878 – 1917): British poet, essayist, and novelist. He is commonly considered a war poet, although few of his poems deal directly with war experiences His poetry came after he had become a successful writer and literary critic. In 1915, he enlisted in the British Army and was killed during the Battle of Arras in 1917, soon after he arrived in France.
William Wordsworth (1770 – 1850): one of the founders of English Romanticism, he was a poet concerned with the human relationship to nature, and a fierce advocate of including the vocabulary and speech patterns of common people in poetry.
Nick Cowen attended Bishop Wordsworth’s School, obtained a fine arts degree in South Wales and then, rather luckily, got a job maintaining all the public rights of way in South Wiltshire. This kept him busy for 30 years until he retired a couple of years ago. What with writing books, playing guitar and, with Lindsay, enjoying their four grandchildren, life is never dull.
Laurie Lee (1914 – 1997): English poet, novelist and screenwriter, brought up in the small village of Slad in Gloucestershire. He is most well-known for the autobiographical trilogy Cider with Rosie (1959), As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning (1969), and A Moment of War (1991).
Charles Dickens (1812 – 1870): English writer and social critic. He created some of the world's best-known fictional characters in complex plots entwining drama and humour. His works often published in serial form, enjoyed unprecedented popularity during his lifetime.
Edward Morgan Forster (1879 – 1970): English novelist, short story writer, essayist and librettist. Many of his novels examine class differences and hypocrisy.
Thomas Hardy (1840 — 1928): English novelist and poet who set much of his work in Wessex, his name for the counties of southwestern England. Salisbury becomes Melchester and the setting of many works of fiction, including the novels Two on A Tower, The Hand of Ethelberta and Jude the Obscure, and in short stories such as On the Western Circuit. It was a city he knew well from several visits
George Herbert (1593 – 1633): Welsh-born poet, orator, and priest of the Church of England. He gave up his secular ambitions in his mid-thirties and took holy orders, spending his last three years as rector of St Andrew's Church, Lower Bemerton in Salisbury, where he was noted for the unfailing care for his parishioners. His poetry was posthumously published.
Izaak Walton (1593 – 1683): English writer, best known as the author of The Compleat Angler, who also wrote short biographies that have been collected under the title of Walton's Lives.
Vikram Seth (born 1952): Indian novelist and poet, partly in residence at The Rectory in Lower Bemerton. Amiong his writing is his verse novel The Golden Gate (1986) and his epic novel A Suitable Boy (1993).
Edith Olivier (1872 – 1948): English writer, also noted for acting as hostess to a circle of well-known writers, artists, and composers in her native Wiltshire. She was the first Lady Mayor of Wilton.
The Hon. Edward Wyndham Tennant, nicknamed ‘Bim’ from childhood (1897 – 1916): English war poet, the son of Lord and Lady Glenconner of Wilsford Manor, near Amesbury, killed at the Battle of the Somme.
Dorothy L. Sayers (1893 –1957): English crime writer, poet and student of classical and modern languages, educated at the Godolphin School. In the 1923 mystery Whose Body? she introduced the character of Lord Peter Wimsey who featured in many of her novels.
William Golding (1911 – 1993): British novelist, playwright, and poet. Best known for his first novel Lord of the Flies (1954) written while a schoolmaster at Bishop Wordsworth’s School in Salisbury. He published another eleven novels, was awarded the Booker Prize for Rites of Passage in 1980 and was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1983.
Vidia Naipaul (1932 – 2018): Trinidadian and Tobagonian British writer of works of fiction and nonfiction in English. He is known for his comic early novels set in Trinidad, his bleaker novels of alienation in the wider world, and his vigilant chronicles of life and travels. In 1980s he rented a cottage at Stephen Tennant's Wilsford House estate, north of Salisbury.
Susan Howatch (born 1940): British author whose writing career has been distinguished by family saga novels describing the lives of related characters over long periods of time. Her later books have also become known for their religious and philosophical themes. For ‘Starbridge’ in several novels read Salisbury.
Edward Rutherfurd is the pen name of Francis Edward Wintle (born 1948 in Salisbury). He is best known as a writer of epic historical novels which span long periods of history, set in particular places. His debut novel Sarum set the pattern for his work with a ten-thousand-year storyline.
Barney Norris (born 1987) was educated at Bishop Wordsworth’s School, Keble College, Oxford and Royal Holloway, University of London. His debut full-length play, Visitors (2014), won the Critics' Circle Award and the Offwestend Award for Most Promising Playwright. Subsequent plays include Nightfall at the Bridge Theatre, London, We Started to Sing at Arcola Theatre, and four plays at Salisbury Playhouse: Echo’s End, Remains of the Day, Blood Wedding, and The Wellspring. His first novel, Five Rivers Met on a Wooded Plain, was a Times bestseller, succeeded by further novels, Turning for Home, The Vanishing Hours and Undercurrent.