H. E. Bates was born in Northamptonshire in 1905. He published his first novel, The Two Sisters, when he was twenty, and for the next decade built up a reputation as a writer of great versatility. During the Second World War Bates was commissioned by the RAF as a short story writer, where he wrote the acclaimed How Sleep the Brave and The Greatest People in the World. His most popular creation was the effervescent Larkin family about whom he wrote five novels including The Darling Buds of May and A Little of What You Fancy. In 1973 H. E. Bates was awarded the C.B.E. He died in 1974.