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The novelist and short story writer Edward Upward (1903-2009) is famous for being the unknown member of the W. H. Auden circle, though he was revered by his peers Auden, Day Lewis, Isherwood and Spender for his intellect, high literary gifts and unswerving political commitment. His lifelong friendship with Christopher Isherwood was forged at school and university, with each regarding the other as the first reader of his work. At Cambridge they invented the bizarre village of Mortmere, which with its combination of reality and fantasy had an important role in shaping the dominant British literary culture of the 1930s.