playwright, director, novelist, and radio and television sciptwriter, educated at Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, and at Trinity College, Cambridge. He is best known for his plays about the problems and contradictions of middle‐class and academic life, many of which show a clear debt to his Cambridge years: these include Butley (1971), Otherwise Engaged (1975), Close of Play (1978), Wise Child (1981), The Common Pursuit (1984; the title an oblique tribute to F. R. Leavis), and Hidden Laughter (1990). His novels include Colmain (1963), Simple People (1965), and Little Portia (1967); the last of these was inspired by his time as a language teacher in Cambridge, as was his play Quartermaine's Terms (1981). Fat Chance (1995) tells the disastrous story of the production and collapse of his play about espionage, Cell Mates (1995), and The Smoking Diaries (2004) is equally frank about his addictions, phobias, failures, and triumphs. Three further volumes followed, with Coda (2008), published posthumously.
Subjects: Literature — Theatre.