BORN 13 Nov 1841, Glasgow, Lanarkshire - DIED 10 Dec 1898, Brighton, East Sussex|
GRAVE LOCATION Rottingdean, East Sussex: St. Margaret's Churchyard, 2-19 Dean Court Road
William Black was the son of the merchant James Black and his second wife Caroline Conning. He was trained as a landscape painter and he used his knowledge from that time in his writings. His father died in 1855 and when he was 23 years old he went to London, where he worked as a journalist for The Monrning Star and for The Daily News. During the war between Austria and Germany in 1866 he worked as a war correspondent.
In 1866 his first novel "James Merle" was published. It attracted little attentions, like its two successors. "A Daughter of Heth" (1871) made him popular and more successes like "A Princess of Thule" (1874) followed. His success enabled him to concentrate fully on his fiction and many more novels followed. His last novel before his death was "Wild Eelin" (1898).
He had married in 1865. In 1866 a son was born, but his wife died soon afterwards of a fever. His son died in 1871. His second wife was Eva Simpson, the daughter of the journalist Wharton Simpson. They married in 1874.
Actress Mary Anderson was a friend and this resulted in two stage appearances by Black. But it made him too nervous and he discontinued acting.
From 1879 until his death he lived with Eva at 1 Paston Place in Birighton. He died in 1898 and was buried in Rottingdean. Eva was buried beside him in 1912. During his lifetime his work had been very popular, but after his death his fame soon faded.