Ernest William Hornung (June 7, 1866 – March 22, 1921) was a British author.
Hornung was the third son of John Peter Hornung, a Hungarian, and was born in Middlesbrough. He was educated at Uppingham during some of the later years of its great headmaster, Edward Thring. He spent most of his life in England and France, but in 1884 left for Australia and stayed for two years where he working as a tutor at Mossgiel station. Although his Australian experience had been so short, it coloured most of his literary work from A Bride from the Bush published in 1899, to Old Offenders and a few Old Scores, which appeared after his death.
After he returned from Australia in 1886, he married Constance Doyle, the sister of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in 1893. Hornung published the poems Bond and Free and Wooden Crosses in The Times. The character of A. J. Raffles, a "gentleman thief", first appeared in Strand Magazine and then in other British magazines during the 1890s. The stories were later published in The Amateur Cracksman (1899), a collection. Other titles in the series include The Black Mask (1901), A Thief in the Night (1905), and the full-length novel Mr. Justice Raffles (1909).
After Hornung spent time in the trenches with the troops in France, he published Notes of a Camp Follower on the Western Front in 1919, a detailed account of his time there. Other works include:
- A Bride from the Bush (1890)
- The Boss of Taroomba (1894)
- Rogue's March: A Romance (1896)
- Peccavi (1900)
- Shadow of the Rope (1902)
- Denis Dent: A Novel (1904)
- Stingaree (1905)
- Fathers of Men (1912)
- Thousandth Woman (1913)
- Ballad of Ensign Joy (1917)
and the collections
- Some Persons Unknown (1898)
- The Crime Doctor (1914)
- Old Offenders and a Few Old Scores (1923)
Hornung's only child, a son, was killed at Ypres; Hornung then took up work with the YMCA in France. Hornung died in St. Jean de Luz, France in 1921, survived by his wife.
In addition to his novels and short stories Hornung wrote some good war verse, and a play based on the Raffles stories was produced successfully. He was much interested in cricket, and was "a man of large and generous nature, a delightful companion and conversationalist".
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