Gabriel Fielding 25th March, 1916-27th November 1986
Gabriel Fielding is the pseudonym of Alan Gabriel Barnsley, who was born in Hexham, Northumberland in 1916.The son of an Anglican Clergyman and descendent of Henry Fielding on his mother’s side. “I remember a terrible separation when I was sent away at the age of eight, to a snob, preparatory school in the south of England, where everything and everyone, from the masters to the hens, seemed hostile. I think this, in a sense, was the beginning of the pain, out of which I write”. Fielding studied medicine at Trinity College Dublin until 1939; failing to qualify there, he finished at St George’s Hospital London. After serving in the Royal Army Medical Corps during World War II he started a general medical practice and worked part time for Her Majesty’s Prison, Maidstone, Kent until 1966.”Medicine, to me, was the sentence I had to fulfill to be free to write”. He came to America in 1966 as author-in-residence at Washington State University. Fielding remained there as a Professor of English and Creative Writing until his retirement in 1981. His works include: The Frog Prince and Other Poems(1952), Brotherly Love (1954), Twenty –Eight Poems(1955), In the Time of Greenbloom (1956), Eight Days(1958), Through Streets Broad and Narrow (1961), The Birthday King ( 1963) Gentlemen in their Season(1966), New Queens for Old ( 1972), Pretty Doll Houses(1972) and The Women of Guinea Lane( 1986).
Awards include St Thomas More Gold Medal 1963, W.H. Smith Award in 1964, Honorary Doctorate of Literature, Gonzaga University 1966, Washington State Governor’s Writer Award 1972, and Distinguished Professor W.S.U. 1981.
“It is a matter for grave doubt that Mr. Fielding could write anything from a postcard to a lexicon without perception and grace and brilliance” – Dorothy Parker