Saturday 20 June 2009

JOHN BURKE - author

After writing about 'The Boys' I recalled several other film tie-ins that I thought had been written by John Burke. Having never Googled this author before it came as a surprise to discover that his latest book 'The Merciless Dead' had been published by Robert Hale in December, 2008.
Looking at the bibliography of this writer's books also made me aware that I had read more of his books than I had first thought for John Burke had written novels under various names: J. F. Burke, Jonathan Burke, Jonathan George, Robert Miall, Martin Sands, Owen Burke, Sara Morris, Roger Rougiere and Joanna Jones.
Not only had he written film tie-ins but thrillers, horror stories and science fiction. Add to that one 1955 western 'Gentle City' under the name of Ross Ames and some gothic romances co-written with his wife Jean under the name of Harriett Esmond.
The Sexton Blake Library published one story 'Corpse To Copenhagen' by Jonathan Burke in 1957.
Although born in Rye, Sussex in 1922 John Frederick Burke was brought up in Liverpool. During the Second World War he served with the RAF and REME and was attached to the Royal Marines during the liberation of Europe. It was during this time that he began writing short stories but his first novel 'Swift Summer' was published after the war in 1949.
He continued writing while working as a secretary to the Production Manager of the publishers, Robert Hale Limited and later became Story Editor for the European branch of 20th Century Fox.
John Burke played clarinet in both classic and jazz styles and was on the first series of 'Mastermind' with the specialist subject on the composer Carl Neillson.
As a writer John Burke has written many short stories and editted three volumes of the 'Tales Of Unease' series and wrote the two 'The Hammer Horror Film Omnibus' collections.
But I remember John Burke for the novelisation of film scripts like 'Look Back In Anger', 'A Hard Day's Night' and 'The Entertainer'. The main reason is that John Burke stamped his own mark on these books by translating the whole film into words so that just by reading his fluid style it was like watching the film inside the head.
Since 1998 all his novels have been published by Robert Hale Limited.

1 comment:

bronwen burke said...

John Burke, my father, died on 20th September 2011 in Kircudbright, peacefully after a long illness.