7 July 1912    Born in rented lodgings at 18 Whitworth Road, South Norwood, London. Baptised James McLaren Ross, the middle name given in honour of Mrs McLaren, his parents’ landlady-cum-midwife. 

Late 1916/early 1917    He and his family move to 80 Paisley Road, Southbourne, a suburb of Bournemouth. 

Autumn 1921    He and his parents move to Marseilles and then Nice. He is subsequently educated on the Riviera and in Paris. In his teens, he starts calling himself Julian Maclaren Ross. (The hyphenated surname was a latter addition.) 

Late 1933    Leaving his parents behind in France, he returns to England, funded by an allowance from his grandfather’s estate. Initially, he lives in Bognor Regis before moving to London. 

1936    Marries Elizabeth Gott and moves back to Bognor Regis, but the marriage last only about six months. 

1938    His allowance abruptly stops, forcing him to work as a door-to-door vacuum-cleaner salesman and then as a gardener. Meanwhile, he succeeds in selling a radio play to the BBC. 

June 1940    Cyril Connolly includes one of Maclaren-Ross short stories in the recently launched magazine, Horizon. Shortly afterwards, Maclaren-Ross is conscripted into the army as ‘Private Ross, J’. 

1940-43    While stationed in a series of English coastal garrisons, he produced a string of satirical short stories about the army. These appear in Horizon, Penguin New Writing, English Story and the other leading literary magazines of the period, earning him a reputation as the new star of English writing. 

January 1943    Deserts from the army. On being gaoled, he suffers a breakdown. He is then sent to a military psychiatric hospital where they assess his suitability to undergo a court martial. 

August 1943    After a brief period of imprisonment, he settles in London where he soon finds a job as a scriptwriter on government propaganda documentaries. 

July 1944    Jonathan Cape publishes his first, highly rated book, The Stuff to Give the Troops: 25 Stories of Army Life

November 1945    Publishes second short story collection, Better than a Kick in the Pants

January 1946    Publishes best-selling novella, Bitten by the Tarantula: A Story of the South of France

October 1946    Publishes third collection of short stories, The Nine Men of Soho

October 1947    Publishes first full-length novel, Of Love and Hunger. Anthony Powell ranks it alongside the work of Patrick Hamilton and F. Scott Fitzgerald. 

December 1947    Starts writing for The Times Literary Supplement

August 1948    Has his first experience as one of a team of screenwriters, who include the young Roger Vadim. 

October 1950    Publishes translation of Raymond Queneau’s Pierrot

1951-53    Works as a journalist and screenwriter for both film and television. 

March 1953    Publishes The Weeping and the Laughter, a childhood memoir which he envisages being part of an autobiographical trilogy. 

May 1953    Makes his debut in the pages of the weekly magazine, Punch

August 1954    Following the traumatic split from his latest girlfriend, he moves from London to Oxford, where his friend, the New Zealand writer Dan Davin, lives. 

August 1955    On a visit to London he encounters George Orwell’s widow, Sonia, with whom he becomes obsessed. 

November 1955    Publishes translation of Georges Simenon’s Maigret et la grande perche, released in England as Maigret and the Burglar’s Wife

January 1956    Moves back to London, mainly motivated by the need to be close to Sonia Orwell, whom he has begun to stalk. 

March 1956    Finds himself homeless. 

April 1956    Meets Leonard Woolf’s niece, Diana Bromley, with whom he begins an affair. 

July 1956     Publishes The Funny Bone, a collection of short stories, parodies, and memoirs. 

April 1957    Briefly imprisoned. 

June 1957    Embarks on the first of numerous popular radio serials for BBC. 

7 July 1958    Diana Bromely gives birth to Maclaren-Ross’s only child, Alex. 

August 1958    Marries Diana Bromely. 

January 1960    Publishes Until the Day She Dies, a thriller based on one of his radio serials. 

June 1961    Publishes The Doomsday Book, a thriller based on one of his radio serials. 

December 1961    Moves with Diana and Alex to a flat in Hove. 

April 1962    Splits up with his wife and moves back to London. 

November 1962    Starts writing for the London Magazine, now under the editorship of the poet Alan Ross. 

January 1964    Publishes My Name Is Love, another thriller based on one of his radio serials. 

August 1964    Completes the first instalment of his Memoirs of the Forties, which is serialised in the London Magazine

3 November 1964    Suffers a fatal heart attack. Buried in an unmarked grave in Paddington Cemetery in North London. 

1965    His Memoirs of the Forties is published to considerable acclaim.

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