John le Carré

From ArticleWorld

Popular for his thrillers like “The Tailor of Panama”, John le Carré was born David John Moore Cornwell to Ronnie and Olive Cornwell. He attended Sherborne School in England and went to University of Berne for his bachelor’s degree. Here, he developed a fascination in foreign languages. He later studied at Lincoln College, Oxford. Follwing a short stint at Eton College in teaching, he joined the British Foreign Service ( eventually MI6). He was posted for the most part in Germany.



Le Carré penned several novels, most of them in the spy-thriller genere’. He is known for his novels with the exploits of the fictional character George Smiley. Two of his novels have some autobiographical elements. More so in the novel “The Perfect Spy” which is based on the author's strange relationship with his father. Le Carre’s response to Kim Philby, the British double agent’s blowing the cover of many spies including Le Carré himself found a way into his novel. The deep-thinking man that he is, he carefully analyzed and depicted Philby as Bill Haydon in the novel “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy”. Bill Haydon is portrayed as a deceitful “mole”, which according to Le Carre’, was in Kim Philby’s nature. Le Carré's work reflects how he refused to let the owrld of spies to be black and bad or “the good versus the evil, as is so often the case in JamesBond novels. Bringing his readers closer to the reality he had experienced, he made sure that his protagonists were three-dimensional. These features make his spy novels the most philosophically significant spy novels of the 20th century.

Movies, Television series

Two novels “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy” and “Smiley's People”, were well received by the British sitcom viewers (starring Alec Guinness as Smiley) when they were adapted for television series by BBC. The “The Tailor of Panama” and more recently, “ The Constant Gardener “ were made into movies.

Creating awareness

Le Carre’, besides having written at least 28 novels, published an essay in The Times in January 2003, criticizing the war in Iraq. According to him, the Bush government used Saddam Hussein to distract America from bin Laden. So moved were the crew who were filming the movie “Constant Gardener” set up a trust by the same name, the “Constant Gardener Fund”. John Le Carre’ himself is a patron of this fund. It cannot be ignored that this author has strong views regarding the war in Iraq and the situation in Kenya. He has certainly created awareness through these writings.

About the author

He has refused several awards and even turned down knighthood. For decades together he denied being involved in any espionage during his posting at West Germany and said that he sat behind a desk. Eventually, he admitted to that aspect of his job in an interview. David John Moore Cornwell (John Le Carre) was born in Poole, Dorset. He traveled all over the world, thanks most part to his job. He lives in Cornwall, England today. He has four children.