Rudyard Kipling (poem 'If')   

Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936) is highly regarded for his contribution to English Literature in many genres including poetry, novel and short story.  He was born in Bombay, India into an affluent family with his mother coming from a family of accomplished women and his father a Professor of Architectural Sculpture.  At age 5 he and his younger sister Alice ('Trix') were sent to England to board and be educated which was a miserable six year experience for him due to not getting on with his carer.

He was then moved to a boarding school college to complete his education and made editor of the school magazine. After school he returned to his parents in India and started his career working on newspapers as an editor then correspondent, whilst his writings began to be published.  

Kipling returned to London in 1889 and rose to fame and publishing success (Kim, The Jungle Book, The Seven Seas – a collection of poems). In January1892 he married Caroline Balestier, voyaged the world and in December daughter Josephine was born.  His writing for children began.  1896 their second daughter Elsie was born and in 1897 son John was born. In 1899 during one of his visits to the USA their daughter Josephine died in New York.

In 1907 Kipling was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature (for life’s works including The Five Nations, Traffics and Discoveries, Puck of Pooks Hill). During WW1 he was active in the British war effort and his 18 year old son disappeared in battle, from which he never really recovered. He was diagnosed with ailments which he endured for two decades, continuing to write throughout, until he died in 1936.

Juliette van Heyst

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