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[full name: Malcolm John Ross-Macdonald]
born 29 February 1932 in Chipping Sodbury, Gloucestershire; eldest son of a Scottish power engineer and a Welsh mother.
educated Chipping Sodbury infants, Market Drayton junior (1939), Prestwick Academy (1940), Greys College, Port Elizabeth (1941-44), Chipping Sodbury Grammar (1945), Bedford School (1945-50: Higher Certificate in Physics, Zoology, Botany, Art); Falmouth School of Art (1950-54: National Diploma in painting) [interruption for national service, 1954-56]; Slade School, UCL, 1956-58; studied under Claude Rogers, Lucian Freud: Slade diploma in painting.
1958: Taught English as a foreign language in London; shared a flat with the poet Jon Silkin, the playwright David Mercer, and novelist Bernice Rubens (our landlady); wrote The Big Waves, a roman à clef. Left the ms with David Mercer.
1958-61: Taught English as a foreign language in Umeå, Sweden; helped organize Kopparhatten, an art-and-crafts cooperative; also several art exhibitions at the Länsmuséet. Wrote The Big Waves, a roman à clef. Left the ms with David Mercer, who sent it to Tom Maschler at Jonathan Cape, who accepted it.
1961: Returned to Cornwall, wrote a sequel (later rejected); took a job as encyclopedia editor with Rathbone (later Aldus) Books, London.
1962: Married Ingrid Giehr of Hamburg; published The Big Waves; wrote another sequel (also rejected).
1963: Moved to Hertfordshire, where we had two daughters. Worked as editor, series editor, executive editor at Aldus until 1965-72: Became freelance. Wrote guidebooks for BOAC, brochures for Alcan, newspaper and magazine articles, and, with Donald Longmore (consultant at the National Heart Hospital) Spare Part Surgery, Machines in Medicine, (both Aldus) The Heart (Weidenfeld). Other publications: The World Wildlife Guide (Threshold Books); Beyond the Horizon (Grolier); Every Living Thing and Life in the Future (Grolier - the first and last of a 12-volume series for which I was consultant editor, too); Doors, Doors, Doors (Alcan). Also consultant on future projects for Readers Digest Books Division in the great days of Peter Glemser. Also radio plays: Kristina's Winter and The Truth, Tomorrow - Maybe, Conditional People (and others that were rejected). Taught graphic design at Hornsey College of Art.
1973: Was encouraged by Richard Imison, Head of Radio 4 drama, to write four radio plays, intended as a pilot for an 8-part Victorian saga - The World from Rough Stones, about a railway engineering dynasty. BBC dithered so I turned it into a novel with the same title - accepted by Hodder & Stoughton (UK) and Knopff (USA).
1974: Moved to Ireland with Ingrid and daughters. Hodder published The World from Rough Stones. The BBC finally broadcast 3 of the four original plays. Became full-time historical novelist, publishing under the name Malcolm Macdonald (henceforth MM):
1975: The Origin of Johnny (non-fiction - Dorling Kindersley's first title, published under my full name, M.J. Ross-Macdonald). An Irish TV play, Kevin's Home, was commissioned and bought by RTE but never produced.
1977: The Rich Are With You Always (MM). 1978: Sons of Fortune (MM).
1979: Abigail (MM).
1981: Goldeneye (MM).
1982: The Dukes (writing as Malcolm Ross - henceforth MR). Won Romantic Times award for Historical Novelist of the Year.
1983: Tessa d'Arblay (MM).
1984: In Love and War (aka For They Shall Inherit) (MM).
1986: Mistress of Pallas (aka On a Far Wild Shore) (MR)
1987: The Silver Highways (MM).
1988: The Sky with Diamonds (aka Honour and Obey) (MM)
A Notorious Woman (MR)
1989: His Father's Son (MM)
An Innocent Woman (MR)
1990: A Woman Alone (MR)
Hell Hath No Fury (an Irish tale, writing as M. R. O'Donnell - henceforth MRO'D)
1991: The Captain's Wives (MM)
A Woman Scorned (MRO'D)
1992: A Woman Possessed (MR)
1993: Dancing on Snowflakes (MM)
All Desires Known (MRO'D)
1994: For I have Sinned (MRO'D)
To The End of Her Days (MM)
Kernow & Daughter (MR)
1995: Crissy's Family (aka The Trevarton Inheritance) (MR)
1996: Tomorrow's Tide (MR)
1997: The Carringtons of Helston (MR)
1998: Like a Diamond (MR)
1999: Tamsin Harte (MR)
2001: Rose of Nancemellin (MR)
2011: The Dower House (MM)
2012: Strange Music (MM)
Promises to Keep (MM)
2013: All of the above republished in ebook formats
2014: Wrote a detailed editorial critique of Dickens's Oliver Twist and published Dickens's imagined 2nd edition in response