A. C. H. Smith
Novelist, playwright, poet
One reads, because he writes
- Hilary Corke, The Listener
Another writer once told me I'd made a mistake in choosing my writing name. The initials were a turn-off, notwithstanding T.S. Eliot, W.B. Yeats, W.H. Auden, not to mention D.C.S. Compton, P.B.H. May. I explained that I knew of four other writers called Anthony Smith. When I published my first book, The Crowd, I could not settle for being just A.C. Smith, the only initials on my birth certificate, because I was reporting cricket for The Times then and A.C. Smith was a Warwickshire player. I perhaps should have invented a nom de plume, but why shouldn't the Smiths put their name on books? So I added H, for Hockley, my grandmother's maiden name, and now it's too late to emend it, even though I have come across another A.C.H. Smith who writes stuff with catchy titles like Excitation of He+ to the 2 2S and 2 2P states by electron impact.
I've published a dozen novels and novelisations, a few non-fiction books, some poetry, and had 20 plays and music-theatre pieces staged or televised. They are listed on Wikipedia, together with brief biographical notes. My memoir, Wordsmith, was published by the Redcliffe Press in May, 2012.
The best-known of my books are two novelisations I did for Jim Henson, The Dark Crystal and Labyrinth. Thanks to the success of the movie, the first of those went to No. 3 on the New York Times bestseller list, but I'm especially fond of the latter, with its humour derived from Terry Jones's screenplay.
My most successful stage work (so far) has been Up the Feeder, Down the 'Mouth, for the Bristol Old Vic in 1997, revived 2001.
It played to 20,000 people. The Sunday Independent called it
a terrific show, The Guardian
a beautifully written script...
This is theatre that matters, and The Observer
the most magical moment of the year.
A Stoppard-based musical I've written with the composer David Lyon, Albert's Bridge, is looking for an enterprising company to produce it. See www.albertsbridgemusical.co.uk.
Two novels of mine have become wraiths. This website gives them a chance of being born in the flesh again. That's why I've set it up, with the help of the wonderful friend who guides me through cyberspace as Virgil guided Dante through Hell, and has built this website for me. Use her: www.webgenie.ie. She's terrific, and won't overcharge you.
One is Wagner, my novelisation of Charles Wood's tremendous screenplay, which has existed only in German and Italian translations; it is now published for the first time in English.
The other is The Dangerous Memoir of Citizen Sade, which I have made available on Kindle. The publisher has also agreed to make a limited number of new hardback copies available. They will be signed by the author. So will two of my plays of which the publisher has a few copies left. To sample excerpts of the two novels and the two plays, and see how-to-buy details, click on them in the menu.
I am thinking of reprinting, maybe e-booking, some of my titles, but that could change. Everything can change, as Heraclitus spotted. But I can't do anything about reissuing titles in which I don't own the rights. That includes the two Henson novelisations, and Edward & Mrs Simpson, Dickens of London, and Lady Jane.