Clarence Malcolm Lowry, novelist (b at New Brighton, Eng 28 July 1909; d at Ripe, Eng 27 June 1957). Although he was not born in Canada, the years he spent in Dollarton, BC, (1940-54) were the happiest and most productive years of his chaotic life. Much of his later fiction is set in BC. All of Lowry's work is to a degree autobiographical. Under the Volcano, one of the great books of modern literature, was inspired by his months of alcoholic depression in Mexico (1936-38). From 1941 to 1944 he worked with his wife Margerie in their Dollarton shack tirelessly revising the manuscript, and in 1946 it was accepted for publication. In the character of the consul, a drunken diplomat without official duties, and in the infernal Mexican setting, Lowry found his perfect symbols. His supple and allusive style lends tragic dignity to the consul's sufferings, and gives the novel its unique combination of humour and horror.
Much of Lowry's fiction (Ultramarine, 1933; Lunar Caustic, 1968; Hear Us O Lord from Heaven thy Dwelling Place, 1961) is memorable, but it is Under the Volcano that has established Lowry as one of this century's great writers. October Ferry to Gabriola (1970) was published posthumously.