Articles about Nigel Balchin written by Derek Collett

Mostly in the Mind
Published in Slightly Foxed in 2016, this article discusses Balchin’s 1945 psychoanalytical novel Mine Own Executioner.

A door to minds and emotions (PDF)
Published in The Psychologist (Volume 29, August 2016), the in-house journal of The British Psychological Society, this article takes a look at Balchin’s career as an industrial psychologist, as well as detailing the psychological content of some of his novels.

Nigel Balchin in Wiltshire
Published in the July 2016 edition of Wiltshire Life, this article presents a series of quirky stories from Balchin’s early life in Wiltshire.

Another Eminent Petrean? Making the Case for Nigel Balchin
As would be expected from its title, this article examines Balchin’s life in the light of the three years he spent as a student at Peterhouse, Cambridge.

Nigel Balchin (or download PDF version)
Reproduced with kind permission of the editor of Book and Magazine Collector. It originally appeared in issue No. 301 (December 2008). This is the first article I ever wrote about Balchin so it occupies a special place in my heart. I’m sure I’d write it very differently if I was to do it again now but it serves as a good general introduction to Balchin, and particularly to his books.

Nigel Marlin Balchin (1908–1970)
This article originally appeared in the Balchin Family Newsletter, Issue 29 (January 2009). This one covers much the same ground as the Book and Magazine Collector piece above, but there is more about Balchin’s life here, and less about his books. It’s based on the transcript of a lecture I gave to the Balchin Family Society in 2008.

Mixing Business with Pleasure (PDF)
Reproduced with permission from History & Philosophy of Psychology (2009), Vol. 11(2), 12-24. © The British Psychological Society. As this article was refereed (i.e. commented on by two psychologists, and revised in the light of their remarks) it probably means more to me than any of the others collected here. This is largely due to the enormous amount of work that was required in order to make it suitable for publication in an academic journal. This is the place to look if you want the psychological angle on Balchin.

Potterne to Hollywood: Balchin’s rise to fame (PDF)
Reproduced with kind permission of the editor of Wiltshire Life. It originally appeared in the issue dated September 2010. I was commissioned to write this piece (a notable first) so I am fond of it for that reason alone. It puts a fresh, Wiltshire-centric spin on some aspects of Balchin’s life and there is information here that you probably won’t find anywhere else!

The Lost Genius of Nigel Balchin (PDF)
This article, another of my general introductions to Balchin and his work, appeared in the June 2015 issue of The Oldie.

Strange Goings-On at The Greyhound (PDF)
Published in the November 2015 edition of Suffolk Norfolk Life magazine, this article gives an account of Balchin’s time in Suffolk in the late 1960s.

Nigel Balchin—A Very English Writer (PDF)
In this article, published in the Winter 2015 edition of This England magazine, I take a detailed look at the subject of Balchin’s Englishness. I describe some of the places in England that Balchin lived in and how they influenced his fiction.

Other Nigel Balchin articles

Balchin’s Maimed Brilliance A slightly edited version of this essay appeared in the Winter 2009 edition (No. 24) of the literary magazine Slightly Foxed ( It was contributed by the poet and novelist C. J. (‘Jonty’) Driver and consists of a biographical essay about Balchin followed by a critique of The Small Back Room. I am indebted to Mr Driver for allowing me to reproduce his excellent article here.

Worker Bees D.J. Taylor discusses Balchin’s novels in the context of other writing about the world of work. From The Times Literary Supplement, No. 5881/5882 (18 & 25 December 2015).