British author Arnold Bennett was well acquainted with the ups and downs of literary acclaim. In the witty romp A Great Man, he brings his personal experiences to bear in telling the tale of Henry Knight, a shy, eccentric author who begins to make a name for himself on the literary scene and has a difficult time adjusting to his new reality.
Arnold Bennett (27 May 1867 – 27 March 1931) was an English writer. He is best known as a novelist, but he also worked in other fields such as the theatre, journalism, propaganda and films. In 1889 Bennett won a literary competition run by the magazine Tit-Bits and was encouraged to take up journalism full-time.
In 1894 he became assistant editor of the magazine Woman. He noticed that the material offered by a syndicate to the magazine was not very good, so he wrote a serial that was bought by the syndicate for 75 pounds (equivalent to £10,000 in 2015). He then wrote another. This became The Grand Babylon Hotel.
Just over four years later his novel A Man from the North was published to critical acclaim and he became editor of the magazine. In 1900 Bennett gave up the editorship of Woman and dedicated himself to writing full-time. However, he continued to write for newspapers and magazines while finding success in his career as a novelist.
In 1926, at the suggestion of Lord Beaverbrook, he began writing an influential weekly article on books for the London newspaper the Evening Standard. One of Bennett's most popular non-fiction works was the self-help book How to Live on 24 Hours a Day. His diaries have yet to be published in full, but extracts from them have often been quoted in the British press.