by John Oxenham
So many writers work hard, yet unsuccessfully reach a mass audience. In a few cases, they are pleasantly surprised. William Arthur Dunkerley (1852-1941) could count himself among the fortunate. Born in 1852 in England, Dunkerley became a publisher. However, he also wanted to become a writer. He wrote this small book of prose, which is heavily influenced by his religious beliefs, as, among other professions, he was a deacon and teacher at the Ealing Congregational Church. It struck a chord with so many readers that it went on to sell thousands of copies and become a Victorian bestseller. Interestingly, though Dunkerley wrote prose under his own name, he used the nom de plume, John Oxenham, for his poetry. He was a prolific writer as well as a journalist, especially during World War I, and also a novelist and poet. In addition to all this writing and religious service, Dunkerley was a politician and served as a mayor of Worthing in Sussex.