O is for Oh, who could that be?

Number 15 in The A to Z of the Writer’s Affliction, part of the A to Z blogging challenge.


I’ve already mentioned Julian Barnes, Kate Atkinson and James Patterson, and today I introduce another of my favourite authors. But this time, I’m going to ask you to guess. Below is an extract from his diary, written exactly 75 years ago yesterday. First person to provide the answer in the comments wins um… how about a postcard from Mayotte? With a thoughtful message and hugs and the prettiest stamp I can find?

17th April 1941. Very heavy raid last night, probably the heaviest in many months, as far as London is concerned… Bomb in Lord’s cricket ground (schoolboys having their exercise at the nets as usual this morning, a few yards from the crater) and another in St John’s Wood churchyard. This one luckily didn’t land among the graves, a thing I have been dreading will happen… Passed this morning a side-street somewhere in Hampstead with one house in it reduced to a pile of rubbish by a bomb – a sight so usual that one hardly notices it. The street is cordoned off, however, digging squads at work, and a line of ambulances waiting. Underneath that huge pile of bricks there are mangled bodies, some of them perhaps alive.

The guns kept up their racket nearly all night… Today I can find no one who admits to having slept last night, and Eileen says the same. The formula is: ‘I never closed my eyes for an instant.’ I believe this is all nonsense. Certainly it is hard to sleep in such a din, but Eileen and I must have slept quite half the night.