James Clavell was
born on October 10, 1924 in Sydney, Australia. His father was a British officer
in the Royal Navy, but was sent to the Australian Royal Navy for some time.
Clavell had a very interesting life to say the least. He started out his adult
life by taking a position in the Royal Artillery. During this time he was sent
to fight the Japanese in World War II. In the heat of combat he was shot by
machine-gun fire and was captured by the Japanese. Clavell was sent to a
prisoner-of-war camp and later transferred to Changi Prison in Singapore. He was
severely abused by his captors while in the camp, and writes about it in several
of his novels, and screenplays, that he would later write. Luckily, Clavell was
one of the few survivors of the prisoner-of-war camp and continued on in the
Royal Artillery, eventually rising to the station of Captain. Shortly after this
time, his military career ended due to a motorcycle accident.
After the military, Clavell enrolled at the University of Birmingham. It was
here that he started to work on his writing, and it was also here that he met
his future bride, Apri Stride, and actress.
During the year 1953 Clavell and his wife moved to Hollywood, California. Here
he would write several novels, children’s books, and most notably screenplays.
Clavell’s first work was the writing for the movie, The Fly. In 1965 he wrote
the novel, King Rat, which was received with much success. This novel was based
on his time in the prisoner-of-war camp in Singapore.