Paul Scott

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Southgate, London
Birth Sign
Southgate, London

Paul Scott was a well-known British novelist, playwright, and poet best known for his ‘Raj Quartet’ tetralogy. Despite his early hopes to be a poet, he studied accounting and served for the British Intelligence Department and the Indian Army up until the ‘Quit India’ campaign. While serving as an Officer Cadet in India, Malaya, and Burma, his wartime experiences fueled his desire to write. As a result, he wrote his own poetry, a few radio plays, and a few novels based on his experiences. ‘A Male Child,’ ‘The Mark of the Warrior,’ ‘The Chinese Love Pavilion,’ and ‘Sahibs and Memsahibs,’ among others, were written by him. His tetralogy series termed the ‘Raj Quartet’ is his most well-known work. The tetralogy series covers the closing years of the British occupation of India from a variety of perspectives. Scott, a Booker Prize winner, centered all of his writings on Indian themes and/or characters, even in novels set outside of India’s physical bounds. Scott became one of the most important figures in Indian/British literature as a result of his extensive creative output.

Childhood and Adolescence

Paul Mark Scott was born on March 25, 1920, in Southgate, Middlesex, to Frances and Thomas Scott. His father was a commercial artist, and his mother, despite her social status, aspired to be an artist.

Scott was a student at Winchmore Hill Collegiate School, but he withdrew due to his father’s financial difficulties. He worked as an accounting clerk for C.T. Payne and took bookkeeping classes in the evenings.

In 1940, he enlisted as a private in the British Army and was assigned to the Intelligence Corps. As a result, he began his military career, which would later form the theme of several of his novels.

The career of Paul Scott

Paul Scott’s first collection of poems, ‘I, Gerontius,’ was published in 1941, although he did not take his writing career seriously at the time because he had already been recruited into the army.

He was sent to India as an officer cadet in 1943, where he was commissioned. He served in the Indian Army Service Corps as a Captain at the end of the war. He fell completely and irreversibly in love with India during this time.

In 1946, he worked for two tiny publishing businesses, Falcon Press and Grey Walls Press, as an accountant. He moved to the literary agency ‘Pearn, Pollinger & Higham four years later, eventually becoming its director.

In 1952, he wrote his debut novel, ‘Johnny Sahib,’ which was influenced by his wartime and Indian experiences. Despite a number of setbacks while writing the work, he was able to get it published and it was a moderate success. In the same year, he composed ‘Lines of Communication,’ a BBC radio play.

He wrote ‘The Alien Sky,’ also known as ‘Six Days in Marapore,’ in 1953. It was the author’s second book. He wrote a well-known book named ‘A Male Child’ three years later.

In 1958, he published his next book, ‘The Mark of the Warrior.’ In the same year, he wrote his second radio play, ‘Sahibs and Memsahibs,’ for the BBC.

The following year, in 1960, came ‘Chinese Love Pavilion.’ All of these writings reflected his wartime experiences as well as his passion for India.

Despite the fact that he had produced a lot of novels at this point, his earnings were pitiful. He was also working as a literary agent at the time. He abandoned his job as a literary agent to pursue his dream of becoming a full-time author.

He attempted to write a few additional novels between 1962 and 1964, including ‘Birds of Paradise,’ ‘The Bender,’ and the satirical comedy, ‘The Corrida at San Feliu,’ but to no avail. He was still not able to achieve the level of success he had hoped for.

In 1964, he traveled to India because he was feeling creatively depleted and wanted to reconnect with his friends and the nation with which he had become infatuated.

He wrote ‘The Jewel in the Crown’ in 1966, which went on to become the first volume of the famed ‘Raj Quartet.’ Two years later, he released ‘The Day of the Scorpion,’ the second volume of the ‘Raj Quartet’ series.
The third book in the series, ‘The Towers of Silence,’ was published in 1971, followed by the last installment, ‘A Division of the Spoils,’ three years later.

These four books chronicle the final days of the British Raj in India, including key details about a number of significant personalities, India’s partition, and the days leading up to the British regime’s demise.

After completing the ‘Raj Quartet,’ he returned to teaching, serving as a visiting professor at the University of Tulsa from 1976 to 1977. In 1977, he won the Booker Prize for his work ‘Staying On,’ a coda to the ‘Raj Quartet.’

Major Projects of Paul Scott

From 1966 to 1974, the tetralogy ‘Raj Quartet’ was published. ‘The Jewel in the Crown,’ ‘The Day of the Scorpion,’ ‘The Towers of Silence,’ and ‘A Division of the Spoils’ were the volumes in the series. The ‘Raj Quartet,’ widely considered to be his greatest work, is recognized as a major masterpiece due to the amount of study that went into crafting these novels.

From political readers’ information to child rape and the ‘Quit India’ campaign, these four novels provide a thorough account of the events leading up to the British Raj’s fall in India from the perspectives of Hindus, Muslims, and other characters. The most successful of the four books published as ‘The Tower of Silence.’

In 1977, he wrote the conclusion ‘Staying On,’ which is considered one of his best works. Granada TV adapted the same for a television feature, which cleared the way for the television adaptation of ‘The Jewel in the Crown.’ Because it gained him the famous ‘Booker Prize,’ this is also regarded as one of his most important works.

Achievements & Awards

In 1971, he won the Yorkshire Post ‘Fiction’ Award for his novel ‘The Towers of Silence.’
In 1977, he was awarded the ‘Booker Prize’ for his novel ‘Staying On.’

Personal History and Legacy

In 1941, he married Nancy Edith Avery, also known as ‘Penny.’ Carol and Sally were his two daughters with her.
His first work in the ‘Raj Quartet’ series, ‘The Jewel in the Crown,’ revealed that he was bisexual by nature.
He was an alcoholic, according to reports, and he was violent with his wife at times. It was because of his actions that the couple eventually divorced.

He was diagnosed with colon cancer near the end of his life. He was supposed to attend the ‘Booker’ presentation just before he died, but he couldn’t because of his illness. He died of cancer at the Middlesex Hospital in London on March 1, 1978.

Estimated Net Worth

Paul is one of the wealthiest Association Football Players, as well as one of the most popular. Paul Scott’s net worth is estimated to be $1.5 million, according to Wikipedia, Forbes, and Business Insider.


The McFarlin Library at the University of Tulsa houses around 6,000 letters from this British novelist’s personal correspondence.