Shute, Nevil, 1899-1960

Variant names

Hide Profile


From the description of Literary manuscripts. [192-?-1960] (Libraries Australia). WorldCat record id: 225790499

Nevil Shute was an English-born author who came to Australia to live in 1950.

From the description of Letter. 1950. (Libraries Australia). WorldCat record id: 225773108

Nevil Shute Norway was born in England and became a successful engineer, eventually moving to Australia in 1950. He began writing novels for relaxation, publishing under the name of Nevil Shute to keep from compromising his reputation as an engineer. His novels are competent and popular, marked by humanity and responsibility, the best-known being the science fiction classic, On the beach.

From the description of Nevil Shute letter to Miss Cond, 1951 Sept. 8. (Pennsylvania State University Libraries). WorldCat record id: 50564375

Nevil Shute (1899-1960) was a British engineer, aviator, sailor, journalist, and novelist. He is perhaps best known for his novels On the Beach and A Town Like Alice.

Born Nevil Shute Norway in Ealing, Middlesex, England, on January 17, 1899,he attended Shrewsbury School as a youth, and in 1912 his father, a career civil servant, was made head of the postal service in Ireland and posted to Dublin. Young Nevil witnessed the 1916 Easter Rising, although his father happened to be away from the GPO that day.

Shute read engineering at Balliol College, Oxford and after graduation worked as an aeronautical designer and engineer with De Havilland Aircraft Co., 1922-24; chief calculator and later deputy chief engineer with Airship Guarantee Co., 1924-30; and founder and managing director of Airspeed Ltd., 1931-38. During World War II (1940-45) he worked on weapons design and held the rank of lieutenant-commander in the Royal Naval Voluntary Reserve. After the war Shute worked briefly for the Ministry of Information, visiting and writing on Burma; in 1950 he and his family relocated to Australia, where he remained until his death in 1960.

Although Shute was a talented engineer whose contributions to aviation include such useful innovations as retractable landing gear, he is more widely known for his literary achievements. Shute's father, mother, and grandmother were all published authors, so it is perhaps not surprising that Shute would try his hand at writing. Although his first novel, Marazan, was published in 1926 he did not turn to writing full-time until the 1940s, and always thought of himself not as an author but as "an engineer who writes books." Many of his novels drew heavily on Shute's own real-life experiences and engineering knowledge: several of his main characters are aviators or engineers, and he predicted the problems of metal fatigue in No Highway (1948), several years before the fledgling commercial airline industry began to encounter it, and the global horrors of nuclear war in On the Beach (1957).

No less than ten movies have been made from eight of Shute's novels ( On the Beach and Pied Piper were each made twice). Undoubtedly the most famous is the 1959 version of On the Beach starring Gregory Peck, Ava Gardner, Fred Astair, and Anthony Perkins, although Shute himself did not care for the film version. The movie is sometimes credited with playing a major part in the international protest against nuclear weapons.

From the guide to the Nevil Shute Papers, ca. 1922-1960, (Special Collections Research Center, Syracuse University Libraries)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Shute, Nevil, 1899-1960. Literary manuscripts. Libraries Australia
creatorOf Shute, Nevil, 1899-1960. Nevil Shute letter to Miss Cond, 1951 Sept. 8. Pennsylvania State University Libraries
referencedIn John Pudney Papers TXRC95-A1., 1850-1977, (bulk 1926-1976) Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
referencedIn Arna Bontemps Papers, 1927-1968 Syracuse University. Library. Special Collections Research Center
referencedIn Houghton Mifflin Company contracts, 1831-1979 (inclusive) 1880-1940 (bulk). Houghton Library
creatorOf Nevil Shute Papers, ca. 1922-1960 Syracuse University. Library. Special Collections Research Center
creatorOf Sink, Charles A. (Charles Albert), 1879-1972. Charles Albert Sink papers, 1907-1996. Bentley Historical Library
creatorOf Pudney, John, 1909-1977. Papers, 1850-1977 (bulk 1926-1976). Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
creatorOf Hughes, Robert, 1912-. Papers. Libraries Australia
referencedIn Charles A. Sink Papers, 1890s-1996 Bentley Historical Library
creatorOf Shute, Nevil, 1899-1960. Letter. Libraries Australia
referencedIn Thayer Hobson Papers TXRC03-A19., 1913-1967 (bulk 1958-1967) Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
creatorOf Hobson, Thayer. Thayer Hobson Papers, 1913-1967 (bulk 1958-1967). Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Bontemps, Arna, 1902-1973 person
associatedWith Hobson, Thayer. person
associatedWith Hobson, Thayer, 1897-1967 person
associatedWith Houghton Mifflin Company. corporateBody
associatedWith Hughes, Robert, 1912- person
correspondedWith Piehler, H. A. (Hermann Augustine), 1888- person
associatedWith Pudney, John, 1909-1977 person
associatedWith Sink, Charles A. (Charles Albert), 1879-1972. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Authors, Australian
Authors, English
Novelists, Australian
Novelists, Australian


Birth 1899-01-17

Death 1960-01-12





Ark ID: w6kw5sqw

SNAC ID: 56872333