Norman Lewis

Portrait of Norman   Lewis

John Frederick Norman Lewis (28 June 1908, Forty Hill, UK – 22 July 2003, Saffron Walden, UK ) was a British novelist and travel writer who had served in the Intelligence Corps in Algeria, Tunisia and Italy during World War II, and whose travelogue in Indochina, A Dragon Apparent (1951) gives his personal take on the history and significance of Angkor.

In addition to 12 novels and several autobiographical essays, Lewis wrote extensively about Sicily and the Mafia, the nefarious role of Christian missionaries in Latin America and elsewhere, the tribal peoples of India and Brazil. Aside his account of French colonial Indochina, he wrote books on his visits to Burma (1952) and Indonesia (1993).

In 1969, his article titled "Genocide in Brazil" -- Lewis was a roving correspondent for several newspapers -- prompted the launch of Survival International, a NGO dedicated to the protection of indigenous peoples around the world. His writing style has been praised by Cyril Connolly, Graham Greene and V.S. Pritchett.

Non-fiction books:

  • Spanish Adventure (1935, later disowned)
  • Sand and Sea in Arabia (Routledge 1938)
  • A Dragon Apparent: Travels in Indo-China (Cape 1951, Scribner 1951 (US), Eland 1982, Hippocrene Books 1984, Eland 2003)
  • Golden Earth: Travels in Burma (Cape 1952; US: Scribner's 1952)
  • The Changing Sky: The Travels of a Novelist (Cape 1959; US: Pantheon 1959)
  • The Honoured Society: The Mafia Conspiracy Observed (Collins 1964, Eland 2003; US: Putnam's 1964)
  • Naples '44: An Intelligence Officer in the Italian Labyrinth (Collins 1978, Eland 1983; US: Pantheon 1978)
  • Voices of the Old Sea (Hamilton 1984; US: Viking 1985)
  • Jackdaw Cake (Hamilton 1985; new edition by Eland 2013) – an autobiography
  • A View of the World (Eland 1986)
  • The Missionaries (Secker 1988; US: McGraw 1988)
  • To Run Across the Sea (Cape 1989)
  • A Goddess in the Stones: Travels in India (Cape 1991; US: Holt 1992) (Thomas Cook Travel Book Award)
  • An Empire of the East: Travels in Indonesia (Cape 1993; US: Holt 1993)
  • I Came I Saw (Picador 1994) – extended issue of 'Jackdaw Cake'
  • The World, The World: Memoirs of a Legendary Traveler (Cape 1996; US: Holt 1997)
  • The Happy Ant-Heap (Cape 1998)
  • In Sicily (Cape 2000)
  • A Voyage by Dhow (and other pieces) (Cape 2001)
  • The Tomb in Seville (Cape 2003)