There is a Happy Land tells of the events of a few weeks in the life of a small boy on a north county council estate and the rhubarb fields, quarries and Clerk of Works yard that are his playground. Unlike most boys portrayed in fiction he is not an ultrasensitive soul but an ordinary boy, occasionally cowardly, sometimes a liar, tough in his own eyes and often insecure in his dealings with others. In his evocation of the jingles, games, fantasies and nightmares of childhood, Waterhouse brings his tribe of street urchins so vividly to life that the book has taken on the status of a much-loved classic.
'An exceptionally talented novelist' - Sunday Times
He gets into the mind of his eleven-year-old, sees the world from a height of three foot six, trembles with him, is defeated in a fight ... The book is vivid, accurate, perceptive ... how brilliant - and how honestly - the author makes his original effect Observer Remarkable for the deep and unwavering insight it gives into child behaviour ... the candour of his vision and the cunning of his art are such that he captures the very essence of the eleven-minus mind The Times An exceptionally talented novelist The Sunday Times Among the reasons for counting Keith Waterhouse among the few great writers of our time is his ability to relate even the wildest manifestations of modern culture to a previous experience of life which was entirely different Independent
In a long and highly successful career, Keith Waterhouse published fifteen novels, including Billy Liar (which has been filmed and staged) and Our Song (also staged), seven non-fiction books and seven collections of journalism. He wrote widely for television, cinema and the theatre, including the highly successful play Jeffrey Bernard is Unwell. He also published two acclaimed memoirs, City Lights and Streets Ahead. He died on 4th September 2009.