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John Wall, Consulate General, Alexandria, 1966

(photograph copyright the Estate of John Wall)

Until recently very little was known about the writer who styled himself “Sarban”. His three published books, Ringstones, The Doll Maker and The Sound of His Horn hinted at a complex personality, and the little available information only added to the fascination he has exercised.


"Sarban" was the pen-name of John William Wall (b.1910 d.1989), who implied that his writing was undertaken during a short period between 1947 and 1951, after which time he found himself without the opportunity or inclination to continue.


However, several recently discovered manuscripts show that this was not the case. Rather more in the way of biographical information has also come to light, and this confirms the ambiguities in the character of the man. A  biography of John Wall by Mark Valentine has been published, and Tartarus Press is will be ensuring that all of Sarban's most significant writings are kept in print.