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Enoch Arnold Bennett (27 May 1867 - 27 March 1931) was an English writer. He is best known as a novelist, but he also worked in other fields such as the theatre, journalism, propaganda and films.
Bennett was born in a modest house in Hanley in the Potteries district of Staffordshire. Hanley was one of the Six Towns that were joined together at the beginning of the 20th century as Stoke-on-Trent and are depicted as "the Five Towns" in some of Bennett's novels. Enoch Bennett, his father, qualified as a solicitor in 1876, and the family moved to a larger house between Hanley and Burslem. Bennett was educated in Newcastle-under-Lyme.
Bennett was employed by his father, but the working relationship failed. He found himself doing jobs such as rent-collecting which were uncongenial. Bennett also resented the low pay: it is no accident that the theme of parental miserliness is important in several of his novels. In his spare time he was able to do a little journalism, but his breakthrough as a writer came after he had left the Potteries. At the age of 21 he left his father's practice and went to London as a solicitor's clerk.
Bennett suffered from a stammer, which Somerset Maugham described as making it "painful to watch the struggle he had sometimes to get the words out." Maugham, who also suffered from a stammer, speculated that "except for the stammer which forced him to introspection, Arnold would never have become a writer.
In 1889 Bennett won a literary competition run by the magazine Tit-Bits and was encouraged to take up journalism full-time. In 1894 he became assistant editor of the magazine Woman. He noticed that the material offered by a syndicate to the magazine was not very good, so he wrote a serial that was bought by the syndicate for 75 pounds (equivalent to £10,000 in 2019). He then wrote another. This became The Grand Babylon Hotel. Just over four years later his novel A Man from the North was published to critical acclaim and he became editor of the magazine.