Born on the 12th of January, 1930, to talented parents Shelah Richards, an actress, and Denis Johnston, a playwright, Jennifer Johnston was educated well, graduating from Trinity College in Dublin before moving to Derry. She was born into the Church of Ireland.
Her first published work was ‘The Captains and the Kings’ in 1972, and followed with a consistent flurry of works, ranging from the saddening wartime story of ‘How Many Miles to Babylon?’, In 1974, to the tale of abuse seen in ‘The Invisible Worm’.
How Many Miles To Babylon?
Alec and Jerry shouldn’t have been friends: Alec’s life was one of privilege, while Jerry’s was one of toil. But this hardly mattered to two young men whose shared love of horses brought them together and whose whole lives lay ahead of them.
When war breaks out in 1914, both Jerry and Alec sign up – yet for quite different reasons. On the fields of Flanders they find themselves standing together, but once again divided: as officer and enlisted man.
And it is there, surrounded by mud and chaos and death, that one of them makes a fateful decision whose consequences will test their friendship and loyalty to breaking point.