Paul Scott was born in North London in March 1920. During World War 2, he served in India and Malaya (1943-1946) and while there wrote poetry and drama.
After a period of time as a bookkeeper he became a literary agent and published a string of novels concerned with British military figures on duty in foreign lands. He began writing full time in 1960 and completed The Raj Quartet in 1974. In 1977, Staying On, the coda to The Raj Quartet, won the Booker Prize for Fiction and, in 1982, Bailey judged the Booker Prize.
He spent his final years travelling between his London home and the University of Tulsa, Oklahoma where he was a visiting fellow. He died in 1978.