A Graham Greene Timeline

Ken Sherwood was one of the founder members of the Graham Greene Birthplace Trust and one of its leading lights for many years. He was an enthusiastic and dedicated supporter of his local town and was determined that Berkhamsted should be forever associated with this celebrated author and famous son.

Ken produced the following, brief chronology of the life and principal works of Graham Greene. It is not exhaustive but serves to acquaint the reader with Greene’s very long and productive working life.

We are grateful to the Trust’s Chairman Giles Clark for providing us with a copy of Ken’s chronology.


GRAHAM GREENE TIME LINE – A Selected Chronology

compiled by Ken Sherwood


1904: October 2nd Henry Graham Greene born St John’s, Chesham Road, Berkhamsted to Charles Henry and Marion Raymond Greene. He was the fourth of six children. Graham’s father was housemaster of St John’s, one of the houses of Berkhamsted School.

1910: November Charles Henry Greene appointed headmaster of Berkhamsted School with effect  from January 1911. Family moved from St John’s to School House in Castle Street.

1918: Graham Greene returned to St John’s as a boarder for 8 terms.

1925: Greene graduated from Balliol College, Oxford with a BA. During his time at Oxford he was the editor of The Oxford Outlook. Through his work on the student magazine he met his future wife, Vivien Dayrell-Browning, when she wrote to Greene that he had made a mistake in one of his articles. Both were 20 when they first met (contrary to many reports Vivien was his senior by two months). His novel Anthony Sant (which was never published) was completed before he graduated. Appointed a sub-editor at the Nottingham Journal.

Babbling April (poems).

1926: February. Received religious instruction and was accepted into the Roman Catholic Church. March. Moved to London. Became a sub-editor at The Times and worked there until 1930.

1927: October. Married Vivien Dayrell-Browning. Set up home in Hampstead. 1929: The Man Within (novel).

1930: The Name of Action (novel).

1931: Rumour at Nightfall (novel). Both The Name of Action and Rumour at Nightfall were subsequently suppressed by Greene and have never been re-printed.

Moved to Chipping Campden

1932: Stamboul Train (novel)

1933: June. Moved to Oxford. December. Lucy Caroline, his daughter, born.

1934: It’s a Battlefield (novel); The Old School: essays by divers hands (essays, edited by Greene).

1935-1942: Worked for the Spectator, initially as film critic and from 1940 as literary critic.

1935: The Basement Room and Other Stories (short stories); England Made Me (novel); The Bear Fell Free (uncollected short story).

Greene visited Liberia with his cousin Barbara. Moved to 14 North Side, Clapham Common.

1936: A Gun for Sale (entertainment*); Journey Without Maps (a travel book). September.  Francis, his son, born.

1937: Greene was the literary editor and film critic for Night and Day (a cultural magazine) from June to December. Publication ceased after libel action launched on behalf of 9-year-old Shirley Temple.

1938: Brighton Rock (novel). Greene visited Mexico to investigate alleged atrocities against Catholics.

1939: Greene began an affair with Dorothy Glover. The Lawless Roads: A Mexican Journey (travel book). The Confidential Agent (entertainment). Greene family evacuated to Crowborough. From this time on Graham and Vivien lived separately, only meeting occasionally. Greene lived mainly in London.

1940: Greene began work for the Ministry of Information, commissioning books and pamphlets for the war effort. The Power and the Glory (novel). Greene family moved from Crowborough to Oxford. October: 14 North Side, Clapham, seriously damaged by landmine.

1941: Greene recruited into Secret Intelligence Service (later called Ml6).

1942: Travelled to Freetown, Sierra Leone. British Dramatists (essays).

1943: Greene returned to England to a job in Section V of Ml6 at St Albans. He was assigned to Counter Intelligence, Portugal and reported to Kim Philby. The Ministry of Fear (entertainment).

1944: May Greene left Ml6. Appointed Director of publishers Eyre and Spottiswoode (until 1948).

1946: The Little Train (childrens story) Greene began affair with Catherine Walston.

1947: Nineteen Stories (short stories).

1948: The Heart of the Matter (novel).

1950: The Third Man & The Fallen Idol (novel and short story). The Little Fire Engine (children’s story). October: Visited Copenhagen and Stockholm. November: Greene visited Malaysia and spent Christmas with his brother Hugh.

1951: The End of the Affair (novel). The Lost Childhood & other Essays (essays, literary studies and autobiography).Greene visits Vietnam for the first time.

1952: The Little Horse Bus (children’s story).

1953: The Little Steam-roller: a story of adventure, mystery and detection (children’s

1954: Twenty-One Stories (short stories).

1955: The Quiet American (novel). Loser Takes All (entertainment).

1957: The Spy’s Bedside Book (an anthology with Hugh Greene).

1958: Our Man in Havana (novel). The Potting Shed (play). Appointed director of Bodley Head  Publishers, London (until 1968).

1959: The Complaisant Lover (play). Met Yvonne Cloetta in Dahomey, West Africa.

1961: A Burnt-Out Case (novel). In Search of a Character: Two African Journals (travel writing). 1963: A Sense of Reality (short stories).

1964: Carving a Statue (play).

1966: The Comedians (novel). Made Companion of Honour. Moved from London to Antibes to be close to Yvonne Cloetta

1967: May We Borrow Your Husband? And Other Comedies of the Sexual Life (short stories)

1969: Travels with My Aunt (novel). Collected Essays. Awarded Shakespeare Prize, University of    Hamburg.

1971: A Sort of Life (autobiography).

1972: Collected Short Stories.

1973: The Honorary Consul (novel).

1974: Lord Rochester’s Monkey (biography). Norman Sherry appointed Greene’s official biographer.

1975: The Return of A J Raffles (play). The Pleasure Dome: The Collected Film Criticism 1935-40

1977: Greene appointed member of the Panamanian delegation to Washington at the signing of the Canal Treaty.

1978: The Human Factor (novel).

1980: Doctor Fischer of Geneva (novella). Ways of Escape (autobiography). 1981: The Great Jowett (play). Awarded The Jerusalem Prize.

1982: J’Accuse: The Dark Side of Nice (essay).

1983: Monsignor Quixote (novel). Yes and No and For Whom the Bell Chimes (plays).

1984: Getting to know the General: the Story of an Involvement (Memoir).

1985: The Tenth Man (novel and film treatments). The Collected Plays of Graham Greene

1986: Awarded The Order of Merit.

1988: The Captain and the Enemy (novel).

1989: Yours etc. Letters to the Press 1945-1989, edited by Christopher Hawtree.

1990: The Last Word and Other Stories (short stories). Reflections (essays, literary studies, prefaces, forewords, travel writing, speeches, poems; edited by Judith Adamson).

1991: April 3 Greene died of a blood disease in Vevey, Switzerland.

1992: A World of My Own: A Dream Diary.

2001: October Yvonne Cloetta died at her home in Antibes on the French Riviera.

2003: August 19 Vivien Greene died in Oxford.


* A Gun for Sale was the first of several works that Greene wrote which he designated ‘Entertainments’. He decided to divide his longer fiction into ‘Novels’ i.e. more serious works, and ‘Entertainments’, being popular and commercial efforts. He later abandoned this practice.