The journalist, poet and novelist Hubert Nicholson (1908-66) was born in Hull and worked on several provincial newspapers, including the Hull-based Eastern Morning News, before moving to London to work in Fleet Street. He joined Reuters after the war as a senior sub-editor, retiring in 1968.
His first collection of poems to appear in print was Date (1935) and he continued to write poetry until late in life, publishing his Selected poems 1930-1980 in 1981. He also began writing novels in the 1930s, beginning with Face your lover (1935). His last novel, Late light, appeared in 1987. He founded the Epsom Poetry Group in 1950.
His autobiography of life in artistic and literary circles in London in the 1920s and 1930s, Half my days and nights (1941), was reprinted in 1983 to favourable reviews. His encounters with the famous (Shaw, Beecham, the Sitwells, W.H. Auden, Dylan Thomas, Louis Armstrong) and accounts of life in the provinces, Bloomsbury's Bohemia and Soho, took Half my days and nights to the outbreak of the Second World War, where the book ended. Charles Causley said of it: 'As a self-portrait over a certain period of time it seems to me perfect – and most touching, written with real fire: a living book that moves under the fingers – and many many times my memories of pre-1939 led me to cry "Exactly!", "Precisely so!", "It was just like that!" '
His literary output included over 30 books, including poetry, novels, criticism and plays. His best-known novel was Sunk Island (1956), set in his native Yorkshire.
He became literary executor to his friend the poet A.S.J. Tessimond, editing two posthumous selections of his poems, Not love perhaps… (1978) and Morning meeting (1980), before bringing together all Tessimond's work that had appeared in book form along with uncollected poems and translations in The Collected Poems of A.S.J. Tessimond, with translations from the French of Jacques Prévert (Whiteknight Press, University of Reading, 1985). The latter volume is republished by Bloodaxe Books with Whiteknights Press in 2010.
With the novelist Barbara Collard, Nicholson had two sons, and a daughter, Sadie, who later became literary executor to both his estate and that of A.S.J. Tessimond.
He spent most of his final years restricted by diabetes to an armchair but 'still actively exploring the subtleties of English language and literature,' as Ronald Sly recalled in his Independent obituary: 'Surrounded by his books, including a shelf-ful of his own works, he would greet visitors to his small cottage in Epsom with a handshake and then, without further preliminaries, immediately discuss the meaning of a phrase, the origin of a colloquialism, the work of a particular poet; he would recite a bawdy limerick, recall a literary anecdote.'
Books by Hubert Nicholson