(1905-1983) Hungarian-born British writer. Imprisoned by the Nazis in France 1940, he escaped to England. His novel Darkness at Noon 1940, regarded as his masterpiece, is a fictional account of the Stalinist purges, and draws on his experiences as a prisoner under sentence of death during the Spanish Civil War. He also wrote extensively about creativity, science, parapsychology, politics, and culture.
Koestler was born in Budapest and educated as an engineer in Vienna, Austria; he then became a journalist in Palestine and the USSR. He joined the Communist Party in Berlin 1931, but left it 1938 (he recounts his disillusionment with communism in The God That Failed 1950). His account of being held by the Nazis is contained in Scum of the Earth 1941. He endowed Britain’s first chair of parapsychology at Edinburgh, established 1984.