Anthony Powell was born in London in 1905. The son of an Army officer, Powell was sent to boarding school at a young age, eventually attending Eton, where he befriended George Orwell, and Oxford, where he met Evelyn Waugh and Graham Greene, and where he roomed with Henry Yorke (who became the novelist Henry Green). Powell published several novels, also working in publishing and as a script writer, before enlisting in the British Army during World War II. After the war, he became a full-time novelist and critic.
Powell is best known for his acclaimed twelve-volume novel A Dance to the Music of Time. The novel comprises the volumes A Question of Upbringing (1951), A Buyer's Market (1952), The Acceptance World (1955), At Lady Molly's (1957), Casanova's Chinese Restaurant (1960), The Kindly Ones (1962), The Valley of Bones (1964), The Soldier's Art (1966), The Military Philosophers (1968), Books Do Furnish a Room (1971), Temporary Kings (1973) and Hearing Secret Harmonies (1975) ...Show More »
Inspired by the painting of the same name by Nicholas Poussin, the cycle of novels offers an insightful depiction of 20th century political and cultural life as experienced by England's upper and bohemian classes. The fourth volume, At Lady Molly's, won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize in 1957, and the eleventh volume, Temporary Kings, received the W. H. Smith Prize in 1974; Time magazine included the novel in its list of "100 Best English-Language Novels from 1923 to 2005." Powell was also the author of three earlier novels, Afternoon Men (1931), Venusburg (1932) and From a View to a Death (1933) and two later novels, as well as a biography of the seventeenth-century writer John Aubrey, a four-volume memoir and three volumes of journals.
Powell declined an offer of knighthood in 1973, but was appointed Companion of Honour (CH) in 1998. He was married to Lady Violet Pakenham from 1934 until his death in 2000. He had two sons.