Born in Newport, Monmouthshire, 1931, Leslie Thomas is the son of a sailor who was lost at sea in 1943. His boyhood in an orphanage is evoked in This Time Next Week published in 1964. At sixteen, he became a reporter, before going on to do his national service. He won worldwide acclaim with his bestselling novel The Virgin Soldiers, which has achieved international sales of over two million copies. His next novel, Dover Beach, will be published by William Heinemann in November 2005.