RONALD BLYTHE is a leading observer of rural life in Britain whose books include the bestselling Akenfield: Portrait of an English Village (1969). Much of his work reflects his East Anglian background. He has received many literary awards and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.

Blythe briefly served during the Second World War and spent the ten years up to 1954 working as a reference librarian in Colchester, where he founded the Colchester Literary Society. Through his work at the library he met Christine Nash, wife of the artist John Nash, who introduced Blythe to her husband and their house, Bottengoms Farm near Wormingford.