Nigel Balchin was an eminent 20th-century novelist and screenwriter. Born in Wiltshire in 1908, he had a successful early career as an industrial psychologist. Whilst seconded to Rowntree’s, he was intimately involved in the launch of Black Magic chocolates. During World War Two, Balchin worked first for the Ministry of Food and later for the Army, ending the War as Deputy Scientific Adviser to the Army Council, with the rank of Brigadier. Balchin’s wartime employment provided him with plenty of original and interesting material and served as the springboard for his career as a novelist. Between 1942 and 1962 he produced a string of commercial and critical successes, including Darkness Falls From the Air, The Small Back Room, Mine Own Executioner, A Sort of Traitors, Sundry Creditors, The Fall of the Sparrow and Seen Dimly Before Dawn. He also found fame as a scriptwriter, adapting several of his own works, including Mine Own Executioner, and writing screenplays for films such as Mandy, Twenty-Three Paces to Baker Street, The Man Who Never Was (for which he won the 1956 BAFTA) and The Singer not the Song. In addition, Powell and Pressburger produced a highly acclaimed film version of The Small Back Room in 1949. Nigel Balchin died in London in 1970.
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