About Winston Graham - Author of the Poldark Saga
One of the most popular and best-loved series of the last century, Poldark has been setting hearts ablaze since its inception by author Winston Graham in 1945. Set against the backdrop of the dramatic beauty of the Cornish coast, Poldark follows the fortunes of headstrong Ross Poldark and his fight to protect his land and community amidst a swirling mix of bitter feuds, passionate love-affairs and biting social division.Read More
Poldark - The Original Editions
Poldark TV Series Covers
Poldark Books for Fans of the Series
Although undoubtedly best-known for his phenomenally successful Poldark series, Winston Graham was one of the most prolific writers of the Twentieth Century writing more than fifty works in his lifetime, from his first published novel in 1934 until his last in 2002.
Born in Manchester in 1908, the Graham family moved to Cornwall when Winston was a child and the area, with its striking scenery and rich cultural tradition, inspired many of his novels, providing a backdrop steeped in local folklore and a landscape indelibly shaped by its industrial heritage.
Although he is now known as a historical novelist, Graham’s first books were suspense-driven page-turners such as his 1941 novel Night Journey, set in Nazi-occupied Europe which captured the fears of a generation anticipating a future if the allies lost the war.
Graham continued to write thrillers throughout his lifetime, particularly in the 1950’s and 60’s when he also adapted many of his work for film and television, most famously for the unnerving psychological drama Marnie, directed by Alfred Hitchcock in 1964.
From Series to Phenomenon
Set in the late 18th and early 19th centuries in a small mining community living in and around Perranporth (Graham’s own home-town for more than 40 years), Graham’s hit series Poldark encapsulates the social and political changes of the industrial revolution. Seen through the eyes of a cast of vividly realised characters, the novels centre on the ongoing love-triangle between headstrong, flawed romantic hero Ross Poldark, his lost former-fiancée, heiress Elizabeth and fiery, passionate miner’s daughter Demelza (modelled on Graham’s own wife, Jeann).
The first Poldark novel, Ross Poldark, was published in 1945 and the whole series encompasses twelve novels, written throughout Graham’s life over a fifty-seven year period. Despite their long-standing popularity, the series really came to public consciousness with the first BBC adaptation, serialised between 1975 and 1977. The romantic saga became so popular that at its peak it had more than 14 million viewers, with newspapers reporting that even church services were rescheduled to avoid clashing with the Sunday evening broadcast slot.
Poldark for the Twenty-First Century
Now, more than seventy years after its release, Poldark has yet another incarnation with the BBC re-launching the series for a new generation and with it has come a resurgence of interest in the original series of novels.
The Guardian recently mused on the continuing popularity of Poldark, one of the best-loved series of the last century concluded, ‘Graham was an expert writer of thrillers …and like many prolific and successful novelists, he recognised that although literary fiction may be complex, great popular novels have the underlying clarity of a fairytale.’
In Poldark, Graham combines all the passion, jealousy, feuds, tragedies and plot-twists of an expertly written romantic saga with a keen-edged portrayal of class, community and deeply entrenched traditions and in doing so he created a series that neatly encapsulates a century of change.
Ross Poldark - 1783-87 (1945)
Demelza - 1788-90 (1946)
Jeremy Poldark - 1790-91 (1950)
Warleggan - 1792-93 (1953)
The Black Moon - 1794–95 (1973)
The Four Swans - 1795–97 (1976)
The Angry Tide - 1798–99 (1977)
The Stranger from the Sea - 1810–11 (1981)
The Miller's Dance - 1812–13 (1982)
The Loving Cup - 1813–15 (1984)
The Twisted Sword - 1815 (1990)
Bella Poldark - 1818–20 (2002)
Recommended Further Reading
Fans of Winston Graham’s sweeping epic Poldark, might turn next to Diana Gabaldon’s equally compelling romantic saga ‘Outlander’, beginning with Outlander (formally titled Cross Stitch) the series follows a woman trapped in time, caught between her life as a 1940’s nurse and that of an outlander in the Scottish highlands of the 1740’s – brilliant historical escapism. For a further taste of Cornish scenery, turn to Cornwall’s most famous novelist Daphne du Maurier, although most of her novels are set in and around Cornwall, Frenchman’s Creek is a classic slice of romance, piracy and intrigue set in iconic coastal landscapes.