in print
Chronological Outline of the Life of Julian Maclaren-Ross
7 July 1912
Born in rented lodgings at 18 Whitworth Road, South Norwood, London. Baptised James McLaren Ross, the middle name given in honour of Mrs McLaren, his parents’ landlady-cum-midwife.
Late 1916/early 1917
He and his family move to 80 Paisley Road, Southbourne, a suburb of Bournemouth.
Autumn 1921
He and his parents move to Marseilles and then Nice. He is subsequently educated on the Riviera and in Paris. In his teens, he starts calling himself Julian Maclaren Ross. (The hyphenated surname was a latter addition.)
Late 1933
Leaving his parents behind in France, he returns to England, funded by an allowance from his grandfather’s estate. Initially, he lives in Bognor Regis before moving to London.
Marries Elizabeth Gott and moves back to Bognor Regis, but the marriage last only about six months.
(Accompanying picture: Maclaren-Ross (left) and his friend and landlord, C.K. Jaeger, posing on the veranda of their house in Bognor Regis)
His allowance abruptly stops, forcing him to work as a door-to-door vacuum-cleaner salesman and then as a gardener. Meanwhile, he succeeds in selling a radio play to the BBC.
June 1940
Cyril Connolly includes one of Maclaren-Ross short stories in the recently launched magazine, Horizon. Shortly afterwards, Maclaren-Ross is conscripted into the army as ‘Private Ross, J’.
While stationed in a series of English coastal garrisons, he produced a string of satirical short stories about the army. These appear in Horizon, Penguin New Writing, English Story and the other leading literary magazines of the period, earning him a reputation as the new star of English writing.
January 1943
Deserts from the army. On being gaoled, he suffers a breakdown. He is then sent to a military psychiatric hospital where they assess his suitability to undergo a court martial.
August 1943
After a brief period of imprisonment, he settles in London where he soon finds a job as a scriptwriter on government propaganda documentaries.
July 1944
Jonathan Cape publishes his first, highly rated book, The Stuff to Give the Troops: 25 Stories of Army Life.
November 1945
Publishes second short story collection, Better than a Kick in the Pants.
January 1946
Publishes best-selling novella, Bitten by the Tarantula: A Story of the South of France.
October 1946
Publishes third collection of short stories, The Nine Men of Soho.
October 1947
Publishes first full-length novel, Of Love and Hunger. Anthony Powell ranks it alongside the work of Patrick Hamilton and F. Scott Fitzgerald.
December 1947
Starts writing for The Times Literary Supplement.
August 1948
Has his first experience as one of a team of screenwriters, who include the young Roger Vadim.
October 1950
Publishes translation of Raymond Queneau’s Pierrot.
Works as a journalist and screenwriter for both film and television.
March 1953
Publishes The Weeping and the Laughter, a childhood memoir which he envisages being part of an autobiographical trilogy.
May 1953
Makes his debut in the pages of the weekly magazine, Punch.
August 1954
Following the traumatic split from his latest girlfriend, he moves from London to Oxford, where his friend, the New Zealand writer Dan Davin, lives.
August 1955
On a visit to London he encounters George Orwell’s widow, Sonia, with whom he becomes obsessed.
November 1955
Publishes translation of Georges Simenon’s Maigret et la grande perche, released in England as Maigret and the Burglar’s Wife.
January 1956
Moves back to London, mainly motivated by the need to be close to Sonia Orwell, whom he has begun to stalk.
March 1956
Finds himself homeless.
April 1956
Meets Leonard Woolf’s niece, Diana Bromley, with whom he begins an affair.
July 1956
Publishes The Funny Bone, a collection of short stories, parodies, and memoirs.
April 1957
Briefly imprisoned.
June 1957
Embarks on the first of numerous popular radio serials for BBC.
7 July 1958
Diana Bromely gives birth to Maclaren-Ross’s only child, Alex.
August 1958
Marries Diana Bromely.
January 1960
Publishes Until the Day She Dies, a thriller based on one of his radio serials.
June 1961
Publishes The Doomsday Book, a thriller based on one of his radio serials.
December 1961
Moves with Diana and Alex to a flat in Hove.
April 1962
Splits up with his wife and moves back to London.
November 1962
Starts writing for the London Magazine, now under the editorship of the poet Alan Ross.
January 1964
Publishes My Names Is Love, another thriller based on one of his radio serials.
August 1964
Completes the first instalment of his Memoirs of the Forties, which is serialised in the London Magazine.
3 November 1964
Suffers a fatal heart attack. Buried in an unmarked grave in Paddington Cemetery in North London.
(Accompanying picture: Maclaren-Ross's final home)
His Memoirs of the Forties is published to considerable acclaim.
(Accompanying picture: C.K. Jaeger holding Maclaren-Ross's cane)