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Author Focus

Owen Hendry
Biographical info

Owen Hendry was born in Glasgow in 1945. He majored at Wits University in English and Latin, and spent 30 years in English-language education. He has written and co-authored many books and series for use in the education environment.

He subscribes enthusiastically to the concept of natural language evolution and development, and recognises that English in particular always has been and surely will continue to be richly moulded by influences from a multitude of welcome sources. However, he believes that the patterns of errors committed by inexpert users of English do not provide a sound basis for legitimate language change; that the language habits of informed and caring users are the proper determinants of what should and should not be accepted as convention; and that departures from these conventions are not only noticed, but are widely taken to be evidence of language incompetence – in simple terms, that if a language is worth using it’s worth respecting and using well, that a badly written letter (or e-mail) of application will count against you, and that the world actually does care.

Spurred by his inability to find a comprehensive dictionary/handbook for writers and editors (and any others who recognise the need to use language correctly and accurately), let alone one prepared specifically to accommodate primarily the needs of the South African market, he researched and wrote one himself.

Owen is married to Glynis, also a teacher, with whom he travels as often as he possibly can – most recently to Andalusia, the Caribbean, Normandy, New England and the Falkland Islands (not all on the same trip). They live in Johannesburg, and have three adult children of whom they are enormously proud.

When neither travelling nor writing, he buys wine, reads all the books he couldn’t find time to read as a teacher, cooks pasta, watches cricket on television, pushes a lawnmower (usually quite willingly) around his wife’s stunning garden, plays golf and the bagpipes (neither with any particular skill), and delights in his five grandsons.

Among his titles as author and co-author are:

Music to the Wind (Shuter and Shooter)
English in Context (Maskew Miller Longman)
Wordsmiths (Maskew Miller Longman)
Rhythm and Muse (Wordsmiths Publishing)
X-Kit English Essential Reference (Pearson Education)
Achieve! (Pearson Education)