About Nigel Frith

Sketch from Frith’s ‘Ancients’ series

Nigel Frith (b. 1941), writer, tutor, artist. The son of an artillery officer serving in Germany after the Second World War, he attended Windsor School, Hamm, in Germany, for the children of military personnel. He studied English Literature at St. Catherine’s College, Oxford University, between 1960 and 1963, with a particular emphasis on early English and Medieval verse forms. During his undergraduate degree he was involved in student and professional theatrical productions and was a founding member of the 55 Club along with his friends, Sheridan Morley, critic, and Giles Block, director, and a number of others who went on to prominence in British literature and drama. Following university he continued to act, worked as library assistant at the Oxford History Faculty Library, and in 1965 his adaptation of Chaucer’s ‘Troilus & Criseyde’, ‘The Lover’s Annual’, was published by JM Dent & Son.

Between 1965 and 1968 he was employed as an English Teacher and resident tutor at Harlech Adult Education College in Wales. In 1968 he was accepted to read for an M. Litt in English literature at St. Catherine’s College but postponed it for a year to travel overland to India with the ‘Indiaman’ travel company. The journey took him across southern Europe, Turkey, Iran, and finally to northern India. He spent time in Kashmir and Rishikesh, where he studied Transcendental Meditation with the Mahirishi Mahesh Yogi. Upon his return he undertook his M.Litt and produced a thesis on the structure of 3 Shakespearean plays. Between 1974 and 1980 he taught English at the Oxford Polytechnic before moving to the Oxford Centre of Medieval and Renaissance Studies where he was a tutor until his retirement in 2006. In 1973 and 1978 Nigel Frith was an unsuccessful candidate for the post of Oxford Professor of Poetry. In the late 1990s he was a founding member of the Matinee-Soiree Society of friends and neighbours in Headington, Oxford.

Nigel Frith began composing prose, plays, and poetry at school, he is also an artist, primarily painting in acrylic on canvas and producing ink illustrations for much of his written work. Between 1965 and 1992 Nigel Frith has had 7 major works published: ‘The Lover’s Annual’ (1965), ‘Krishna’ (1975), ‘Asgard’ (aka ‘The Spear of Mistletoe’) (1977), ‘Jormundgand’ (1986), ‘Dragon’ (1987), ‘Olympiad’ (1988), ‘Snow’ (1992). The majority of Nigel Frith’s literature is influenced or concerned with world mythology, classical, early English and Medieval verse forms. In addition to this, Nigel Frith has written numerous plays that roughly divide between his early student plays and plays written from the 1980s. His major professionally produced plays are: ‘Commedia’ (1987), ‘Magic’ (1989), ‘Hamlet: The Musical’ (1995) (commissioned and performed by the Shochiku Theatre Company, Japan), ‘The Angel’ (1996). With the exception of his time in Wales, Nigel Frith has lived and worked in Oxford.

Nigel Frith’s great-grandfather, William Silver Frith (1850-1924), and grandfather, Edgar Silver Frith (1890-1974), were both accomplished architectural sculptors whose work appears on numerous buildings and monuments, primarily in London and Oxford but also at Hever Castle, Kent. His grandmother Margaret Frith (nee Gough) was personal secretary to the Irish writer, George Moore.