Pelham (‘Plum’) Grenville Wodehouse was born in Guildford in 1881. After leaving school he spent two years as a banker, before switching careers to sports reporter and columnist at the Globe newspaper. Around this time he started writing short stories, mainly for boys’ magazine The Captain, before discovering his talent for comic dialogue. By 1910 he was reaching millions of readers all over the world, and dividing his time between his homes in the US, France and Britain.

In his ninety-six years he wrote almost two hundred short stories, plays, articles, song lyrics – including working with Cole Porter on the musical Anything Goes – and novels. He began writing the Jeeves and Wooster novels, for which he is best known, with The Man with Two Left Feet in 1917, followed by others such as Right Ho, Jeeves (1934), The Code of the Woosters (1938) and Stiff Upper Lip, Jeeves (1963), and finally Aunts Aren’t Gentlemen in 1974.

His final years saw him constantly in and out of hospitals with a series of illnesses. He continued writing throughout, leaving his final work, Sunset at Blandings, unfinished. He died of a heart attack in a hospital in Southampton, Long Island, on Valentine’s Day 1975.

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