Sir Victor Pritchett was born above a toyshop in Ipswich, Suffolk in 1900. His family moved constantly during his childhood and he left school at sixteen to work in the leather trade in London. In the 1920s he became a journalist, first during the Irish Civil War and later in Spain: his first book, Marching Spain, was published in 1928.
From that time on, although he held several academic posts, he was first and foremost a writer, achieving fame for his short stories and wide admiration for his journalism and his criticism, particularly his weekly column "Books in General" for the New Statesman in the 1950s, in which he surveyed the whole range of European literature. He became President of the Society of Authors, was a foreign member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the Academy of Arts and Sciences, and also President of the International P. E. N. He became C. B. E in 1968, was knighted in 1975, and was made Companion of Honour in 1993. He died in London, in March 1997.