Born in Newport, Monmouthshire, 1931, Leslie Thomas is the son of a sailor who was lost of 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. In 2005, Leslie Thomas received an OBE for services to literature.