John Fowles (1926 - 2005) is widely regarded as one of the most innovative and important English writers of the second half of the twentieth century. Born in Leigh-on-Sea, he later studied French at Oxford. He taught first at Poitiers University in France, then on the Greek island of Spetsia for two years, before returning to London. His first published novel, The Collector (1963), was a major critical success and achieved bestseller status. In 1965 his magnum opus, The Magus, was published, followed in 1969 by The French Lieutenant's Woman, another bestseller. The 1981 film version, with a screenplay by Harold Pinter, directed by Karel Reisz and starring Meryl Streep, was a triumphant success. He published several other fiction and non-fiction books, but his only other book of poetry, simply called Poems, came out in the USA (but not in the UK) in 1973.