Thursday, November 13, 2014

Eric A. Leyland (1911-2001)

Aka Nesta Grant, Sylvia Little, Elizabeth Tarrant
Author, Librarian, Principal
Born September 22, 1911, Ilford, Essex, England
Died March 28, 2001

Eric A. Leyland was a very prolific British author of series books and other books for young readers. He was born on September 22, 1911, in Ilford, Essex, and was the son of a clergyman. He attended Brentwood School and University College, London, and worked as Chief Librarian in Chingford, Essex (1938-1946), and Walthamstow (1946-1949). Afterwards he shared with his wife the position of principal of Normanhurst School in Chingford.

Leyland wrote more than 100 books, mostly in the following series from 1940 to 1967:
  • Hunter Hawk: Skyway Detective
  • David Flame
  • Abbey School Series
  • Men of Action
  • Steven Gale
  • Nelson Peerless
  • Red Lawson
  • Rip Randall
  • Six Gun Gauntlet
  • Skinny
  • The Captain
Leyland wrote under his own name and under the pen names Nesta Grant, Sylvia Little, and Elizabeth Tarrant. He also adapted and introduced an episode of the television series Fact and Fiction ("The Birds of Thimblepins") in 1960. He wrote just one story for Weird Tales, "The Debt" in the issue for November 1930, published when he was only nineteen years old.

Eric Leyland is still popular in Britain and on the Continent. A simple search for his name will turn up lists of books and other information, including images of his books and a photograph of him. Leyland died on March 28, 2001.

Eric A. Leyland's Story in Weird Tales
"The Debt" (Nov. 1930)

Further Reading
A blog entry called "Eric Leyland-Hack of All Trades" by Jim Mackenzie, dated April 8, 2009, at this URL:

There are other sources on the Internet as well.

I had hoped when I saw this title that it might have a science fiction or fantasy connection, but Gale and the Sword of Mars (1962) appears to be an ordinary thriller, spy novel, or crime novel. Steven Gale is the main character and star of the series by Eric Leyland. 
Text copyright 2014 Terence E. Hanley

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