William Westrup

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(b. Hornsey, Middlesex, 21/04/1881 - d. Kloof, Durban, 26/06/1943). Author, company secretary. British-born novelist William Westrup originally came to South Africa in 1900 as a prospector and diamond dealer. His first novel seems to have been A Sentimental Cynic (1911), but this was soon followed by The Land of Tomorrow (1912), The Debt (1912), The River of Dreams (1913), The Toll (1914) and The Man Who Was Afraid (1915). All of these books had a South African background and many were set during the early mining era. In 1916 he joined the Anglo American Corporation and stayed with them for 25 years, eventually becoming company secretary, but he continued to write both novels - including Shadows in the Water (1929) and Furtive Farm (1930) - as well as many short stories, some of which appeared in a collection entitled Old McBein (1937). The McBein character was later adapted for radio and the stories were broadcast by the SABC in the 1950s. According to some sources he also used the pseudonym of Hope Springs. Apparently he was killed when, at Durban station, he fell under a moving train.

In 1920 The Man Who Was Afraid was filmed by African Film Productions. Directed by Joseph Albrecht, it featured M.A. Wetherell, Jackie Douglas and Dick Cruikshanks in the leading roles. Westrup was married to Beatrice Jacobs, who died in 1955.


Le Roux, André I. & Fourie, Lilla – Filmverlede: geskiedenis van die Suid-Afrikaanse speelfilm

Maxwell-Mahon, W.D. - Entry in Dictionary of South African Biography, Volume V


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