Kingsley Amis Biography

Kingsley Amis Biography

Kingsley Amis (1922 – 1955) - Life History of a legendary English Writer

A popular English novelist, critic, poet and teacher, Sir Kingsley Amis was a renowned personality. He was considered to be the finest British comic novelist of the second half of the twentieth century. In the year 2008, The Times positioned Kingsley Amis ninth on their listing of the 50 greatest British writers ever since 1945.

Born: April 16, 1922, Clapham, London, United Kingdom
Died: October 22, 1995, London, United Kingdom
Children: Martin Amis, Sally Amis, Philip Amis
Movies and TV shows: Only Two Can Play, Tell Me Lies, More
Spouse: Elizabeth Jane Howard (m. 1965–1983), Hilary Bardwell (m. 1948–1965)

Birth Details

Kingsley Amis was born on 16 April 1922 in Clapham, South London. His father was William Robert Amis who was a clerk at a mustard manufacturer. He married Hillary Bardwell in 1948.

Personal Biography

He received his education at the City of London School. He got admission at St John’s College, Oxford in 1941 where he studied English. In July 1942, he was called for National service. In the Second World War, he served in the Royal Corps of Signals. After serving in army for some time he returned back to Oxford to complete his degree.


Kingsley became a member of the Communist Party of Great Britain in the year 1946. From 1949 to 1961, Amis became a lecturer in English at the University of Wales Swansea.

In 1954, Kingsley published his first novel “Lucky Jim” for which he received great acclaim. Critics loved his novel and saw it as a new style of fiction. This novel sold about quarter million paperback copies in United Stated apart from brilliant sales in Britain.

His writing had a versatility that reached to every genre – scripts, novels, short stories, mystery, etc. Started as comedy novelist, later Kingsley diversified and wrote a variety of things thereby getting the title of the master of every genre.

In 1955, he wrote another novel “That Uncertain Feeling” and “I like it here” in 1958.

In 1960 he published “Take a girl like you” which became very popular. It was considered to be his second best novel after “Lucky Jim”.

Kingsley also wrote on science and mystery fields. Later he shifted to horror and wrote “The Green Man” in 1969. This book also became very successful and popular among all age groups.

Kingsley wrote several poetries where he showed his scorn towards God and religious beliefs as he was an atheist. He wrote on social criticisms and essays which were meant for journalistic publication.

Kingsley started writing James Bond novels in late 1960s which became a rage among people. He wrote the James Bond Dossier and The Book of Bond in 1965. The Book of Bond was also popular as Every Man his Own 007.

He wrote a number of essays and poems towards the end of his career. 

In 1995, Amis suffered a mild stroke and after that his condition worsened slowly and gradually. He eventually died on 22 October 1995 at a hospital in London after suffering for some time.


The novel “Lucky Jim” won the Somerset Maugham Award for fiction.  


“Feeling a tremendous rakehell, and not liking myself much for it, and feeling rather a good chap for not liking myself much for it, and not liking myself at all for feeling rather a good chap.”
- Kingsley Amis

“He resolved, having done it once, never to move his eyeballs again.”
- Kingsley Amis

“He was of the faith chiefly in the sense that the church he currently did not attend was Catholic”
- Kingsley Amis

“I sometimes feel that more lousy dishes are presented under the banner of pâté than any other.”
- Kingsley Amis

“I want a dish to taste good, rather than to have been seethed in pig's milk and served wrapped in a rhubarb leaf with grated thistle root.”
- Kingsley Amis

“If you can't annoy somebody, there's little point in writing.”
- Kingsley Amis

“It is no wonder that people are so horrible when they start their life as children.”
- Kingsley Amis

“It was no wonder that people were so horrible when they started life as children.”
- Kingsley Amis

“Laziness has become the chief characteristic of journalism, displacing incompetence”
- Kingsley Amis

“No pleasure is worth giving up for the sake of two more years in a geriatric home at Weston-super-Mare”
- Kingsley Amis

“No wonder people are so horrible when they start life as children.”
- Kingsley Amis

“Outside every fat man there was an even fatter man trying to close in”
- Kingsley Amis

“Self criticism must be my guide to action, and the first rule for its employment is that in itself it is not a virtue, only a procedure.”
- Kingsley Amis

“There was no end to the ways in which nice things are nicer than nasty ones.”
- Kingsley Amis

“Women don't seem to think it's good enough; They write about it”
- Kingsley Amis

Famous People Article Archive