Stephen Spender was born in 1909 and was educated at University College, Oxford, where his friends included W. H. Auden, C. Day Lewis, Louis MacNeice, Christopher Isherwood and Edward Upward. His first book, Poems, was published by T. S. Eliot at Faber and Faber in 1933. He went to Spain during the Civil War and worked as a Republican propagandist. With Cyril Connolly he founded Horizon in London in 1939, and co-edited it until he joined the National Fire Service in 1942. He founded Encounter with Irving Kristol in 1953 and was co-editor of the magazine until 1965. He spent much time in the USA where he was Visiting Professor at several universities. He was awarded the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry in 1971, and was knighted in 1983. His oeuvre includes numerous volumes of poems concluding with Dolphins in 1994, plays, translations, novels, short stories, essays on art and literature, criticism, and journals. He died in London in 1995.