The Redonda Legend: A Chronological Bibliography


John D. Squires

PO Box 292333

Kettering, OH 45429 USA

(937) 293-7513

[Working draft as of 12 Sept 2011]


A. The Shiel Years (1865-1947)


Shiel, M. P., “The Chase,” Chapter XVIII of Contraband of War, Pearson’s Weekly, #415, 2 July 1898, page 825, includes a description of the island, including, “From the summit a view (which the present writer has twice enjoyed) is obtained for many a mile over the sea as far as the coasts of Nevis to the North, and Montserrat to the South.


Shiel, M. P., “About Myself” in The Novels of M. P. Shiel, London: Victor Gollancz, Ltd, [1929], a pamphlet issued to promote reissues of Shiel’s novels. [Reprinted in A. R. Morse, The Works of M. P. Shiel, Volume III, The Shielography Updated, part two, Cleveland: Morse Foundation, 1980, 669-674.  A revised and annotated version, first published in the original 1948 edition of Morse’s book, is also reprinted at 417-422.  In the 1929 original and in the revised version Morse published in 1948 Shiel uses “Rodundo” for “Redonda” which appears to be a local Montserratian variant of the name.  John Gawsworth standardized the spelling as “Redonda” in 1950 in Science, Life and Literature, a practice Morse followed in the update of his Shiel bibliography in 1980.]


[Ransome, Arthur, as] “R,” "New Novels,"  Manchester Guardian, 22 March 1929, p. 7.  In his review of the Gollancz reissues, Ransome drew on the facts given in "About Myself" in the Gollancz promotional booklet: "Born in the West Indies, crowned king of an island on his fifteenth birthday,..."  Ransome, who wrote of Shiel in Bohemia in London (1907) and his Autobiography (1976), was apparently the first reviewer to allude to the legend.  In 1947 he would be duked by Gawsworth in State Paper No 1.


Shiel, M. P., letter to Annamarie Miller Gross dated Nov 23, 1931: “Another time I will tell you about myself when I was a boy, since you ask.  I was crowned King when I was fifteen, but my Kingdom was only a great rock (named Rodundo)...”  Morse Collection, Olin Library, Rollins College, Winter Park, Florida. [Published in Squires, John D., editor, M. P. Shiel and the Lovecraft Circle: A Collection of Primary Documents Including Shiel’s Letters to August Derleth, 1929-1946, Kettering, Ohio: The Vainglory Press, 2001, 109-110.]


“Shiel, Matthew Phipps,” in Twentieth Century Authors, W. H. Wilson Co., (1932): 1279-1280. [Reprinted in Works III,  675.]


Jepson, Edgar, Memories of an Edwardian and New Georgian, London: Grant Richards, 1937, 242. [The footnote in which the reference appeared was omitted from the “New and Cheaper” edition of this book published in London by Martin Secker in 1938, though the index still includes “ghost” references to John Gawsworth and “Matthew I, King of Rodundo”at page 242.  Gawsworth’s Appendices to the first edition were also dropped from the Secker reprint.]           


“Poets At Dinner: Novelist King,” Daily Sketch, (October 20, 1937.) [Brief account of a  conversation with Shiel about Redonda at a Poets’ Club dinner.]


“Author is King of Isle His Father Seized With Own Navy,” Sunday Referee, (October 24, 1937) [An interview with Shiel triggered by the Daily Sketch article.  Reprinted as “Science-Fiction Author is King of Island” in Tomorrow, Vol. 2, No 3., Autumn, 1938, page 13. ]


“Island King Now Lives In A Cottage,” The Star, (October 26, 1937) [An interview with Shiel triggered by the Daily Sketch article.]


[Article?], Star Eagle, Newark, NJ, ( November 20, 1937.)


Grammercy, S. F., [Article or interview?] Everybody’s Weekly, (May 21, 1938.)


“Science-Fiction Author is King of Island,” Tomorrow : The Magazine of the Future

[Incorporating “Scientifiction–The British Fantasy Review”], Vol. 2, No 3., Autumn, 1938, page 13. [Reprint of Sunday Referee article, 24 October 1937.]


[Obituary?], Daily Express, (February 18, 1947.)


Obituary note, Time, (March 3, 1947): 96.


B. The Gawsworth Years (1947-1970)


Connell, John, “A Writer’s Novelist,” The Listener, (April 24, 1947):632-633.


Dick, Alan, “Best-seller, a pen pal and a home,” Daily Herald, (June 24, 1947.)


“Left Home To Boy He Never Met,” West Sussex County Times (Horsham Advertiser and Sussex Standard), (Friday, June 27, 1947.)


State Paper One issued by John Gawsworth on 29 June 1947, with initial nobility list.


Note on inheritance of Shiel’s cottage by Annamarie Miller’s son, Time, (June 30, 1947.) Includes a brief discussion of the legend.,9171,854731-2,00.html


Blakeston, Oswell, Life and Letters, Vol. 57 (April 1948): 93. [The legend recounted in a brief review of The Best Short Stories of M. P. Shiel, by Sangro, Duke of Redonda.]


Morse, A. Reynolds, The Works of M. P. Shiel: A Study in Bibliography, Los Angeles: Fantasy Publishing Co. Inc., 1948.


“Kingdomless Queen,” The American Weekly, (December 12, 1948.)


Derleth, August, “The Realm of Redonda,” Arkham Sampler, (Spring, 1949): 70-73 [Reprinted Works III, 682.]


State Paper Two issued by John Gawsworth on 29 June 1949, with second nobility list.


“At the Court of King Juan,” News Review, (July 14, 1949): 6.


Shiel, M. P.,  Science, Life and Literature, with a Forward by John Gawsworth, London: Williams and Norgate Ltd., 1950. [Reprints “About Myself” as “Of Myself.”  Standardizes spelling as “Redonda.”]


[Blakeston, Oswell], Life and Letters, Vol 65, (June 1950): 273-274. [The legend mentioned in brief review of Science, Life and Literature by Sangro.]


“‘King’ of Redonda adds to ‘Peerage,’” The Daily Gleaner (Kingston, Jamaica) July 5, 1950, page 12


State Paper Three issued by John Gawsworth on 29 June 1951, with third nobility list.


Smith, Bradley, Escape to the West Indies, New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1956, 94-95.


Fytton, Francis, “The homing Poet,” Cheshire Life, (December, 1956): 57.


“The ‘Kingdom’ of M. P. Shiel”, Times, (March 25, 1957.)


Billings, Harold W., “Matthew Phipps Shiel: A Collection and Comments,” Library Chronicle of the University of Texas, Vol. VI, no 2 (Spring 1958): 34-43.


“Wanna Be A King?” Reuters article about Gawsworth’s notice of  “Caribbean kingship with royal prerogatives” offered for sale for 1,000 guineas in The Times on June 21,1958.


Pearce, Dyke, “His Island ‘Crown’ Is For Sale,” Empire News, (June 22, 1958.)


Forbes, Peter, “King of Spoof,” The People, Sunday, (June 28, 1958): 6.


“The king without half a crown,” Daily Mirror, Saturday, (July 19, 1958): 2.


Whitcomb, Noel (Duke of Bonafides), “What women don’t know about Men” [A copy of clipping without publication data except for date, 1958; Gawsworth laments no women remain in the Kingdom, response to Times sale ad “was astonishing.”]


“Wearing an old black jacket...”, Daily Telegraph, (May 22, 1959) [article on appointment of Michael Denison & his wife Dulcie Gray as duke & duchess for their performances in Let Them Eat Cake.  See also Michael Denison, Double Act, London: Michael Joseph, 1985, 92-93.] 


Moss, Norman, “Juan Prefers London: My Kingdom for a Pub, Says King of Redonda,” [copy of clipping in Morse collection, but without publication data.  Appears to be from an English  newspaper around 1959. “...The Purple Cloud was recently made into the film, Odds Against Tomorrow with Harry Belafonte...”  Actually, Odds Against Tomorrow was a different Belafonte movie.  The film loosely based on Shiel’s novel was The World the Flesh and the Devil (MGM, 1959.)]


Fawcett, F. Dubrez, “King of All the Seagulls,” Men Only, No 75, London, (November, 1960):  58-60  [Reprinted Works III, 683-684.]


Howard, Richard A., “Botanical and Other Observations on Redonda, The West Indies,” Journal of the Arnold Arboretum, Vol. XLIII, No. 1, (January 1962): 51-66. [Reprinted in Works III, 703-711.]


Phillips, Eric, interview, “H. M. The King of Redonda,” Writer [U. K.] (October 1962): 4.


Maclaren-Ross, J., “The Strange Realm of M. P. Shiel,” The London Magazine, (September 1964): 76-84 [Reprinted in Works III, 685-689, and in Maclaren-Ross, Julian, Bitten by the Tarantula and other writing ['other writing' l.c. on cover and title page], edited by Paul Willetts, London: Black Spring Press [].


Angeloglou, Maggie, “The King who washed Edith Sitwell’s Windows and took Dylan Thomas Home to Sleep on the Sofa,” London Evening Standard, (Monday, May 3, 1965.)


Gawsworth, John, “M. P. Shiel Centenary: 1865-1965," and Sewell, Brocard, “M. P. Shiel,” The Aylesford Review, Vol. VII, no. 3 (Autumn 1965.)


“Company Royalty: Lexington Librarian Is Dubbed Honorary ‘Duke of Redonda’,” The Itek News, Vol 9, no1, (March 4, 1966): 8. [Company newsletter article on Malcolm Ferguson’s appointment.]


“Abdication,” The Evening Standard, (February 17, 1967). [Account based on telephone interview with Gawsworth discussing abdication in favor of Arthur John Roberts.]


Ross, Charlesworth, “The First West Indian Novelist,” Caribbean Quarterly, Vol. 14, No. 4 (December, 1968): 56-60 (Department of Extramural Studies, University of the West Indies, Mona, Kingston 7, Jamaica.)


Durrell,  Laurence, Spirit of Place: Letters and Essays on Travel, ed by Alan G. Thomas, New York:  E. P. Dutton,1969 [Includes “Some Notes on My Friend John Gawsworth: 1962", pp 17- 23, discussing the legend at 22. This chapter was reprinted in The Kingdom of Redonda 1865-1990, ed by Paul de Fortis, Aylesford Press, 1990, 53-59.]


“Friends are seriously concerned...,” Times, (December 4, 1969) [article on Gawsworth’s decline.]


“Poetic Peerage,” Daily Telegraph, (September 26, 1970) [article on Redonda’s peerage and Gawsworth’s death.  In his essay in The Cornish Review, Winter 1972, Arthur Caddick gives the date of this article as September 27, and notes a separate obituary notice on Gawsworth in the Daily Telegraph on September 26 which also mentioned the Redonda legend.]


“John Gawsworth will be cremated...,” Times, (September 26, 1970.) [A separate death notice appeared in the same issue.]


“John Gawsworth, 58, Itinerant English Poet,” Washington Post, (September 26, 1970)



“John Gawsworth, 58, Poet And ‘King’ of Tiny Island,” New York Times (September 27, 1970):86, col. 3 [obituary.]



C. The Uncertain Years (1971-?)


Derleth, August, The Arkham Collector, No 8 (Winter 1971): 253. [Obituary note on Gawsworth, presumes the Kingdom will lapse with his death.]


Rigge, Simon, "The British Empire", Time-Life Books weekly part no 24 (1972), 665. [A page on Redonda includes two old illustrations of the mining operations (also reprinted in Morse’s Quest For Redonda) and a paragraph which concludes: "The two major events in its history occurred in 1865; natives from Antigua began phosphate-digging and an obscure Irishman landed and proclaimed himself 'King,' so initiating a crank dynasty that survives in London under its present 'monarch' who till recently managed a pub in the Tottenham Court Road."]


Caddick, Arthur, “Marks of Royal Favor”, The Cornish Review, ed by Denys Val Baker, No 22, Winter 1972, 4-21. [Recounts two visits to the author in Cornwall by a very drunken and ailing Gawsworth in 1968 and 1970.  Gawsworth is several times referred to as “the ex-king of Redonda, ” though he continued to grant titles “in the exercise of Our Abdication Prerogative...”  No royal successor is mentioned.  Indeed, the article begins: “Let two extracts from London’s Daily Telegraph introduce these heitherto-secret pages from the archives of a Royal House that is no more, and all its high lineage brought low.”]


Fodor’s Caribbean Guide, Bahamas and Bermudas, New York: David McKay Company, 1974, 386-387.


Stanford, Derek, Inside The Forties: Literary Memoirs 1937-1957, London: Sidgwick & Jackson Ltd, 1977, 214-215.


Eng, Steve, “Two Afterthoughts on M. P. Shiel: Upon Reading Morse’s ‘New Dimensions’,” The Romantist, No. 2, Nashville: The F. Marion Crawford Memorial Society (1978): 31.


Morse, A. Reynolds, The Quest for Redonda, Cleveland: The Reynolds Morse Foundation, 1979. [Reprinted as chapter 9 of Works III, 581-742.]


“Is the King of Redonda Redundant?”, Daily Mail, (Jan 29, 1979.) [Reprinted in Works III, 714.]


Ferguson, Malcolm M., “Arkham House and Its Eldritch English Visitants,” August Derleth Society Newsletter, Vol 3, no 1, (1979):1-2.


Morse, A. Reynolds, The Works of M. P. Shiel, Vol. III, The Shielography Updated, part two, Cleveland: The Reynolds Morse Foundation, 1980.  [A volume of miscellany and biographical data.  Besides reprinting The Quest for Redonda, it includes Morse’s account of the Gawsworth years and his analysis of the post Gawsworth succession.]


Wynne-Tyson, Jon, “M. P. Shiel: Right Royal Fantasist”, Antiquarian Book Monthly Review, Vol. VIII, #11, issue 91 (Nov 1981): 412-417 [reprinted in M. P. Shiel in Diverse Hands ed. by A. Reynolds Morse, Cleveland: Reynolds Morse Foundation, 1983, 208-211.]


                          ,“Two Kings of Redonda: M. P. Shiel and John Gawsworth”, Books at Iowa, no. 36 (April 1982): 15-22. <>


Klein, T. E. D., “Books,” Twilight Zone Magazine, Vol. 2, No. 5 (August 1982): 14-15.


                      ,“In the Twilight Zone: Royalty...,” Twilight Zone Magazine, Vol. 2, No. 7 (October 1982): 6. [“Pigs Are Sensitive” by Jon Wynne-Tyson is published at pp 76-80.]


Indick, Ben, “All you ever wanted to know about M. P. Shiel,” IBID, No. 40, The Esoteric Order of Dagon, 40th mailing (October 1982): MPS1-MPS6. [Discusses the respective claims of Jon Wynne-Tyson and William Scott Home.]


Fletcher, Ian, “John Gawsworth: The Aesthetics of Failure,” The Malahat Review: An International Magazine of Life and Letters, no. 63 (University of Victoria, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada), (October 1982): 206-219.


Eng, Steve, “The Lyric Struggles of John Gawsworth,” Books at Iowa, no. 38, (April 1983): 29-45. <>


Wade, James, “The Shielography, volumes II and III,” Riverside Quarterly, Vol 7, No. 3, (Whole no. 27, May 1983), 177-179. [Review of the Morse Update by a contributor to Diverse Hands, includes a discussion of the Redonda legend.]


Morse, A. Reynolds, ed., M. P. Shiel in Diverse Hands: A Collection of Essays on M. P. Shiel, Cleveland: Reynolds Morse Foundation, 1983.


Pitts, Denis, “The Dotty Dynasty of Redonda,” The Sunday Express Magazine, (Sept 23, 1984.)


Wynne-Tyson, Jon, So say banana bird, Brighton: Pythian Books, 1984.  A novel in which the

hero sails from England to the West Indies & visits various islands, renamed but based on those associated with Shiel.  Montserrat is "Monesterio."  Redonda appears as "Zafada".  The first king is "Scully" rather than Shiel, "Christopher Rutherford" is Gawsworth, but the legend gets retold throughout the novel.


Lehmann, F. W., IV in International Micropatrological Society Update, (February 20, 1985.)


Denison, Michael, Double Act, London: Michael Joseph, 1985, 92-93.


Eng, Steve, compiler & ed. “John Gawsworth—A Tribute Anthology,” The Romantist, No.6-7-8, Nashville: F. Marion Crawford Memorial Society (1986): 85-106.


                  , “Profile: John Gawsworth,” Night Cry, Vol. 2, no. 3, (Spring, 1987): 73-92; reprinted in Aklo (Spring, 1988): 38-46.


Harrison, Michael, “Derleth—My Fellow Duke,” August Derleth Society Newsletter, Vol. 10, No. 1 (1987): 8-11.


Anonymous. “The Caribbean's one and only king.” LIAT Islander, 16, July 1987, 24-26. (An illustrated article about Redonda and a pretender to the throne, Aleph Kamal, who was apparently associated with The Police rock group).


O’Coineen, Enda, The Unsinkable Kilcullen, London: The Bodley Head, 1987.  [Chapter 16, “Becoming a Lord” includes an account of the legend and the author’s journey to Redonda.]


David, Hugh, The Fitzrovians: A Portrait of Bohemian Society 1900-55, London: Michael Joseph, 1988, 166.  [“...after unsuccessfully attempting to sell his title - he nominated a Tottenham Court Road publican as successor to the throne of Redonda.”]


Dobson, Roger, “M. P. Shiel and Arthur Ransome,” Antiquarian Book Monthly Review, Vol. XV, #6, issue 170 (June 1988): 218-224.


Dyde, Brian, “Half Our Sorrows,”  London Magazine, (Aug-Sept 1988): 79-86. [Suggests Shiel fabricated the legend to help promote the Gollancz reissues.]


de Fortis, Paul, “The Kingdom of Redonda—A Brief History,”  Aklo ( Summer 1989): 14-15.


                       , “A History of Redonda,” in The Kingdom of Redonda, 1865-1990 ed. by Rev. Paul de Fortis, Cheshire: The Alysford Press, 1991, 19-41.


O’Shaughnessy, Hugh, Around the Spanish Main: Travels in the Caribbean and the Guianas, London: Century, 1991, 61; 94-95.

“Kingmaker of the Island that Columbus ignored,” The Hampstead and Highgate Express, (March 13, 1992): 2. [Paul de Fortis’ role in promoting “King” Cedric recounted on the occasion of de Fortis’ bizarre accidental death.]


Kohn, Marek, “Letter from Bohemia: From Guano to Soho: go for it,” The Independent, (Saturday May 16, 1992.)


Dyde, Brian, Caribbean Companion: The A-Z Reference, London and Basingstoke: The MacMillian Press Ltd., 1992. [Includes a short biographical note on Shiel at p 152: “If he is remembered today it is usually in connection with a ridiculous tale he made up in 1929 about his being the ‘King’ of Redonda.  This is unfortunate as he has every claim to be recognized as the first West Indian novelist, writing in English, to have established a reputation outside the Caribbean.”]


Marías, Javier, All Souls, translated from Spanish by Margaret Jull Costa, London: Harvill, Harper Collins, 1992.  (A novel set in Oxford, Gawsworth & the Redonda legend discussed pp 102-113.)


Eng, Steve, “Men About Machen: John Gawsworth ‘Machen’s Boswell,’” Avallaunius, 10 (Spring 1993): 18-23.


Finnegan, Matt, “Hunt for Queen of Caribbean,” Manchester Evening News, (May 15, 1993.)


“Bolton housewife to become Queen,” Bolton Evening News, (Saturday 15 May 1993.)


Russell, Andrew, “Caribbean Queen,” Today, (Tuesday, May 18, 1993): 12.


“Hail Queen Maggie, monarch of Redonda,” Daily Mail, (Tuesday, May 18, 1993.)


Brooks, Tony, “Isle Be Blowed: Maggie says no to chance of royal title,” Daily Star, (May 18, 1993): 3.


“Isle NOT be Queen,” Daily Mirror, (May 18, 1993): 12.


Troup, John, “Maggie’s own isle,” The Sun (Tuesday, May 18, 1993): 11.


Finnegan, Matt, “New queen snubs isle paradise,” Manchester Evening News, (May 18, 1993): 2.


“‘Queen’ rejects her Caribbean kingdom,” Daily Telegraph (May 18, 1993): 2.


Bowman, Carlin, “Maggie’s world a woman’s realm...,” Rossendale Free Press (Thursday, May 20, 1993.)


“She’s the queen of Caribbean island,” Bury Times, (Friday 21 May 1993): 21.


Johnson [?],Carl,  “Queen Maggie falls in love with paradise,” (Saturday May 29, 1993.)


Oldfield, Stephen, “Crowning a Caribbean queen,” Daily Mail, (Tuesday, June 1, 1993): 25.


Bowman, Carin, “Queen Maggie’s island joy turns sour as firm loses out...,” Rossendale Free Press, (Friday 11 June 1993): 9.


“Queen scorns royal pretenders”, Evening News, (June 22, 1993.)


Heath-Stubbs, John, Hindsights: an Autobiography, London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1993, 267. [“Eventually Gawsworth abdicated in favour of a publican whom none of his friends had ever met.”]


Coram, Robert, Caribbean Time Bomb: The United States Complicity in the Corruption of Antigua, New York: William Morrow and Company, 1993.  [Redonda and the legend is discussed in chapter 9, “Guano and Literature”, 84-95.]


Redondan Cultural Foundation Newsletter 1, ed by Roger Dobson & Mark Valentine, (Feb 1994.)


Henderson, James, “Redonda” in The Caribbean & the Bahamas, (Cadogan Guides) Cadogan Books, plc, 1994, 310-311.


McLaughlin, Brighid,  “Redonda reclaimed,” Sunday Independent (June 25, 1995): 7L.


“Sales of books and manuscripts,” Times Literary Supplement, (July 21, 1995): 32.


Jarvis, Stephen, “Bird droppings and name dropping with the king of Redonda,” The Daily Telegraph, (Oct 28, 1995.)


Redondan Cultural Foundation Newsletter 2, ed. by Roger Dobson & Mark Valentine, (Feb 1996.)


Cameron, Sarah, “Redonda” in Caribbean Islands Handbook (with the Bahamas), Footprint Handbooks [in USA Passport Books] (September 1996): 485-486.


Bowker, Gordon, Through the Dark Labyrinth: a Biography of Lawrence Durrell, London: Sinclair-Stevenson, 1996, 328. [“Gawsworth wrote a pathetic letter...He had also abdicated as King of Redonda, eight months before.”]               


Fergus, Howard A., Gallery Montserrat: Some Prominent People in Our History,  Kingston: Canoe Press University of the West Indies, 1996, 37-38. [Includes a brief profile of Shiel & the Redonda legend.]


Redondan Cultural Foundation Newsletter 3, ed. by Roger Dobson & Mark Valentine, (Nov 1996.)


Stableford, Brian, “M. P. Shiel,” Book and Magazine Collector, No. 155 (Feb 1997): 62-71.


Gates, William L., “M. P. Shiel” [letter to editor], Book and Magazine Collector, No. 156, (March 1997): 84.


“The Kings of Redonda”, Irish Roots Magazine, #21 (1997 First Quarter.)


Smith, Joe, “For Bill this dream isle is truly the crowning glory,” Eastern Daily Press, (Monday, Dec 1, 1997): 2-3. 


Redondan Cultural Foundation Newsletter 4, ed. by Roger Dobson & Mark Valentine, (Jan 1998.)


“Kings Across the Water”, The Sunday Review (The Independent on Sunday), (Feb 15, 1998): 42.


Dobson, Roger, “El Rey de Redonda,” Machenalia, (Autumn 1998): 3-4 [also includes Antonio J. Iriarte’s review of Negra espalda del tiempo by Javier Marías at 9-10.]


A note on the resignation of Jon Wynne-Tyson and transfer to Javier Marías, All Hallows: the Journal of the Ghost Story Society, no. 19, (October 1998): 7-8.


Redondan Cultural Foundation Newsletter, Issue 5, (November 1998) ed. by Roger Dobson and Mark Valentine,  “The Reign in Spain” announces resignation of Jon Wynne-Tyson & assignment to Javier Marías.


MacNiven, Ian S., Lawrence Durrell: A Biography, London: Faber and Faber Ltd, 1998, 81-82; 193-4.


Hughes, Rhys H., Rawhead and Bloody Bones & Elusive Plato, Tanjen, Ltd, Leicester: 1998.

[“Rawhead and Bloody Bones” is a surreal novella which includes as a minor character, “John Gor’blimeysworth, the exiled King of Redonda,” who is killed at 53-60.  Another character proclaims at page 73, “Now the Redondan throne is empty and the sons of Conch-Shiel will squabble over possession...”  On page 86 “...we learn about a coup d’état on the isle of Redonda which has led to a short-wave personage known as Gamma-Ray Russell assuming power.”]


Dyde, Brian, Antigua and Barbuda: The Heart of the Caribbean, Third edition, London and Basingstoke: MacMillian Education Ltd, 1999. [First edition, 1986, Second edition, 1993.  Chapter 14, “Redonda” discusses the history of the island, dismissing the legend as an invention to help promote the 1929 Shiel reissues by Gollancz, 133-137.]


Dobson, Roger, letter to the editor, Book Source Monthly, Vol. 18, no. 7 (Oct 1999.)


Showker, Kay, “Caribbean Curiosities,” AAA Miami Valley Home & Away (November/December 1999): 22.


Dobson, Roger, “A King in Hornsey,” Hornsey Historical Society Bulletin, no. 41 (London,

 2000): 33-34.


Fergus,  Dr. Howard, Gallery Montserrat: Prominent People in Montserrat's History, Jamaica, Trinidad and Barbados: Canoe Press, 2000. [Profiles 49 persons who have featured prominently in the history of Montserrat, including Shiel as “King of Redonda.”  Presumably a reprint of the 1996 edition.]


Marías, Javier, Dark Back of Time, trans from the Spanish by Esther Allen, New Directions, 2001.


Dark Back of Time, reviewed, Publishers Weekly, March 26, 2001, 64.  “The second half of this novel  is a virtuoso digression on the seedily adventurous circle around a minor British poet and Oxford figure, Gawsworth.  Marías has an antiquarian’s taste for history’s minor characters, in whose lives fact flows easily into fiction and back again.”


A Heart so White and Dark Back of Time, reviewed by Wendy Lesser, The New York Times Book Review, May 6, 2001, 26-27.  “Has Marías himself set up the whole dispute – perhaps the whole [Gates] Redonda site – as yet another literary game?”


Dobson, Roger, “John Gawsworth: King of Redonda,” in  Miranda Davies and Sarah Anderson, with Annabel Hendry,  Inside Notting Hill, London: Portobello Publishing Ltd, May, 2001, pp 192-195. [Also published on line at:]


Olsson, Bo C., “Redonda – Ett Rike Med Två Kungar Men Inga Invånare!,” Nordisk Filateli, No 5, Summer 2001 (Sweden),  pp 16-20. [Article on Redondan stamps & royal rivals.]


Squires, John D., editor, M. P. Shiel and the Lovecraft Circle: A Collection of Primary Documents Including Shiel’s Letters to August Derleth, 1929-1946, Kettering, Ohio: The Vainglory Press, 2001. [Reprints Derleth’s “The Realm of Redonda” with various other minor mentions of the legend, particularly at page 101.]


Eng, Steve, “John Gawsworth (Terence Ian Fytton Armstrong),” in British Fantasy and Science-Fiction Writers, 1918-1960, Vol. 255 of Dictionary of Literary Biography, Detroit, et al: Bruccoli Clark Layman, The Gale Group, 2002, 82-88.


Jackson, Kevin, “A Writer At Large: The Kingdom of Redonda,” The Independent on Sunday,  Mar 2, 2003.



Marías, Javier, Dark Back of Time, trans from the Spanish by Esther Allen, London: Chatto & Windus, 2003.

France, Miranda, “This is a novel about his last novel about Oxford,” a review of Dark Back of Time in Daily Telegraph: London, Saturday, April 12, 2003, books, p 9.


Beagles, Martin, "Getting a grip on the past: Javier Marías revisits his All Souls experience." TLS, April 18, 2003, 22.


Vida, Vendela, “Does Javier Marías Have a Leg Fetish?“, The Believer, August, 2003




Holloway, Mark, “John Gawsworth: A Memoir,” with an Introduction by Jon Wynne-Tyson. [Unpublished draft of article announced for possible publication in  2003?  Squires collection.]


Squires, John D., “My Discovery of William B. Seabrook,” New York Review of Science Fiction, No 181, Vol 16, No 1, September 2003, 1; 4-5. [Speculates that Seabrook’s account of the crowning of Faustin Wirkus as king of La Gonave in the February 4, 1928 Collier’s may have inspired Shiel to finally go public with the Redonda story in “About Myself” the following year.]


“Academic joins fantasy islanders,” BBC News  UK edition, Monday 23 Feb 2004, on line at:

   [Article about appointment of Dr Alexis Grohmann, a 36-year-old Scottish university lecturer by  Javier Marías.]


Williams, Martin, “His excellency, our man for Redonda,” Herald & Times Limited, 24 February 2004. [Another article about appointment of Dr Alexis Grohmann to Redonda royalty.  Also on line at:]


MacLeod, Kirsten, "Romps with Ransome's King: Fans, Collectors, Academics, and the M. P. Shiel Archives," "English Studies in Canada," Vol 30, No 1, (March 2004): 117-136.


Slyfield, Brian, “M.P. Shiel From New Road, Southwater — a.k.a. King Felipe I of Redonda,” The Horsham Society Newsletter, May 2004, 36-38.


Wynne-Tyson, Jon, Finding the Words: A Publishing Life, Wilby, Norwich: Michael Russell, 2004. [Chapter 8, ‘The Cause of Half Our Sorrows,’ covers the author’s perspective on Gawsworth, Redonda and the transfer of his disputed royal claim to Javier Marías, pp 158-195.]


Billings, Harold, M. P. Shiel: A Biography of His Early Life, Austin: Roger Beacham Publisher,    2005. [Includes brief discussion of likely historical basis of the legend.]


Anderson, Dorothy & Shiell, Richard, The Shiell Family of the Caribbean Island of Montserrat, Melbourne, 2005. 


Hutchison, Henry, "REALM OF REDONDA" : A Definitive History of the Island-Kingdom of Santa Maria la Redonda in the West Indies, The Redondan Foundation: Thurlton, Norwich, 2005. [A4 format, soft cover; 78 pages, seven chapters, 38 illustrations, with 2004 Membership List; Index & References.  The history of the legend from the perspective of a supporter of William Gates’ claim.] 


Maclaren-Ross, Julian, Bitten by the Tarantula and other writing ['other writing' l.c. on cover and title page], edited by Paul Willetts, London: Black Spring Press, [] 2005.  Includes “The Strange Realm of M.P. Shiel', pp. 457-468, reprinted from the London Magazine, 1964, £9.95. [The book is a collection of fiction, essays and literary parodies.] 


Javier Marías, “The Art of Fiction No. 190,” an interview by Sarah Fay, The Paris Review, Winter 2006, No. 179. [Includes Marías’ perspective on the legend.]



Press release from The Green Monkey Dive Shop announces the latest addition to its itinerary of scuba tours, Dive Redonda.  It concludes:


                        Coming in 2007- The Royal Monkey Navy is looking for a few good

                        men and women!  Join our unarmed forces as they seek to overthrow

                        the Kingdom of Redonda and return it to Montserratian rule.  The

                        ownership of the throne is in chaos and dispute.  While the so-called

                        Kings jockey for position, our forces will approach by sea, climb to

                        Sheill’s Summit and plant the Royal Monkey Flag.  Be a part of this

                        historic event as the future King and Queen, Troy and Melody,

                        begin a new era of hope and prosperity for the Kingdom of Redonda. 



Staff Reporter, “Hunt for the heir to island throne,”  Bolton Evening News and Bury Times, 16 May 2007. [Article on Roger Dobson’s search for Maggie Parry re: forthcoming BBC program.  "Queen Maggie is the granddaughter of the first king, MP Shiel," said Mr Dobson.

"She was last heard of in the 1990s living in Ramsbottom and managing a furniture company in Bolton."]


Redonda: The Island with Too Many Kings (30 min)

Broadcast on [BBC] Radio 4 - Tue 22 May [2007] - 11:30

Presented by: Angus Deayton

Produced by: Neil Rosser

Written by: Roger Dobson and Angus Deayton

 Angus Deayton presents the remarkable tale of Redonda, an uninhabited rock in the Caribbean annexed by the British in the 1870s and now claimed by as many as nine competing kings.  Previous monarchs have included eccentric science fiction author Matthew Shiel and poet John Gawsworth.

Contributors include writers AS Byatt, Fay Weldon and Brian Aldiss [sic, Stableford], plus Redondan royals Jon Wynne Tyson and King Robert the Bald.


Staff Reporter, “Hunt is over in search to find Caribbean island queen,” Bolton Evening News and Bury Times, 28 May 2007. [Article on resurfacing of Maggie Parry in Spain. "I was rather surprised when my friends rang me. I've always been aware of my family's connection to the island and visited Redonda about 14 years ago.

"It's very mountainous and completely uninhabited, although there was a small mining community living there until the 1950s."

Mrs Parry, a widow in her 50s with four children and four grandchildren, used to run Parry Contracts Furniture factory in Bolton and lived in Ramsbottom.

"I don't take the Queen Maggie title very seriously. I'm prouder to be able to say I'm related to MP Shiel who was a very talented man and a great author," she said.]


The Times of Redonda, Winter 2008. Occasional newsletter issued by William Gates (aka King Leo).  Recounts the sudden appearance of one William Leo Timlin in the Kingdom of Redonda entry at Wikipedia, who claimed to have received an assignment of the throne from King Leo.  Gates denies knowledge of this pretender or that any assignment occurred.  (Page 3)


Ferguson, James, “Kingdom of the Birds,” Caribbean Beat, Issue No. 98 - July/August 2009


Duffy, John, 1 September 2009, “DEATH OF KING OF REDONDA,” Press Release about the death of  [pretender] Robert the Bald on 27 August 2009 and claimed succession of Michael Howorth as King Michael the Grey.


Friday, 11 December 2009,  “King Bob the Bald of Redonda is dead, Long Live King Michael the Grey.”  Blog account of death of [pretender] Robert the Bald and claimed succession of

Michael Howorth as King Michael the Grey.


Curley, Robert, “New 'King' of Redonda Crowned,” 6 January 2010. Blog account of crowning of Michael the Grey on 11 December 2009.


Fletcher, Guy, “A Day Trip to Redonda - aka 'we must have been mad' ”.  2010 Blog account by a member of the rock band “Dire Straits” (who recorded their album “Brothers in Arms” on Montserrat at Air studios ), of a wind surfing journey from Montserrat to Redonda in December, 1984.   Includes brief account of the legend reflecting “new” misinformation.  The post office photographed by Morse in 1979 was still standing.


Squires, John D., “Of Dreams and Shadows: An Outline of the Redonda Legend with Some Notes on Various Claimants to its Uncertain Throne”, Kettering, Ohio: The Vainglory Press,

[2 March] 2011.  10 copies. [Essay also posted online at:]


Anderson, Douglas A., posting on Wormwoodiana blog, 5 March 2011, about the web posting of “Of Dreams and Shadows.”


Herron, Don, “Rediscovered: Redonda!,” blog posting on Dashiell Hammett, Shiel, Gawsworth & the Legend.  Posted on 19 March 2011.



Spanish Addenda


[This section is based on data supplied by Antonio Iriarte,

who also translated the headlines into English.]


Marías, Javier, Negra espalda del tiempo, Madrid: Alfaguara, 1998.  A novel with autobiographical elements, including the author’s account of the Redonda Legend and his ascension to Jon Wynne-Tyson’s claims as King.


Merino, Ignacio, "His Majesty Javier Marías. Reality and fiction come to the writer's assistance as he settles accounts with his enemies or reveals how he came to inherit the Caribbean Island of Redonda," El Mundo, Madrid, (May,10th, 1998.) [The article deals mainly with Negra espalda del tiempo and All Souls, JM's 1989 novel in which he mentioned JG and Redonda for the first time, but also briefly retells the Redonda legend. Although MPS isn't mentioned by name, an illustration taken from the novel reproduces the four kings' reigning and "civil" names.]


Gimferrer, Pere, Los Raros, Palma de Mallorca: Bitzoc Editions, 1999. [A collection of essays including “Shiel, El Visionario” at pp 317-319.]   


Marías, Javier, “Reino De Redonda” is a column by published weekly in El Semanal.  The issue published April 16, 2000 included at page 10 part one of “Este reino junto al mar.”  Completed at page 10 of the April 23, 2000 issue as “This kingdom by the sea,” this is Mr. Marías’ summary of the Redonda legend and his succession to Jon Wynne-Tyson’s interests as executor and “king.”


                     , “Only Air and Smoke and Dust,” a Prefatory Note to La Mujer De Huguenin by M. P. Shiel, translated into Spanish by Antonio Iriarte, Barcelona: Reino de Redonda, 2000.  The book,  a selection of six short stories, also includes as appendices Shiel’s “About Myself” in Spanish and English, a number of illustrations, and lists of Redondan titles and offices created by John Gawsworth, Jon Wynne-Tyson and Javier Marías, respectively.                          


The next nine articles report on the press conference held by Javier Marías  on Friday, July 7, 2000.  All of them retell, with more or less detail, the story of Shiel’s kingdom of Redonda and its succession. The first three kings are duly mentioned, as are the titles of nobility bestowed by them, and by JM .  Shiel’s importance as a writer is usually left in the background, although the book and the publishing house are, of course, mentioned as well.


de Tuesta, Mª José Díaz, “Writer Javier Marías makes his debut as publisher with a fantastic literature series. The author creates ‘Reino de Redonda’, a publishing house which opens with a book by M.P. Shiel”, El País, Madrid, (July 8, 2000): 40.


Palacios, Elena F., “Javier Marías inherits a Caribbean island and creates a new publishing house. The writer is the current King of Redonda, a phantasmagoric title, empty of any real contents, which was held by other writers before him,” Diario 16, Madrid, (July 8, 2000): 52.


J. C. R., “Javier Marías creates the publishing house of his novelesque Kingdom of Redonda,” La Razón, Madrid, (July 8, 2000): 30 [Also, at 12, Photo of JM with caption: “Javier Marías creates the ‘Reino de Redonda’ publishing house.”]


Astorga,  Antonio, “Javier Marías makes his debut as publisher with Reino de Redonda,” ABC, Madrid, (July 8, 2000): 49.


Yebra, Tomás García, “Javier Marías creates a publishing house. He has just “inherited” an island in the Caribbean,” El Heraldo de Aragón, Zaragoza, (July 8, 2000.)


Merino, Juan Carlos, “Javier Marías makes his debut as a publisher with an anthology of fantastic tales by Shiel. All Souls author inherits the crown of the Caribbean island of Redonda, establishes a court of writers and movie makers, and plans to publish two books per year, with a Catalan edition by Columna.” In a box, on the same page, a potted biography of M. P. Shiel: “Profile: First King of Redonda and Science Fiction forerunner”, by M. Bach, La Vanguardia, Barcelona, (July 8, 2000): 47.


“Javier Marías turns publisher and creates the firm ‘Reino de Redonda’”. Press agency release.  A good summary, with mention of Shiel and of the book.  El Día de Valladolid, Valladolid, (July 8, 2000.)


 “Javier Marías ‘inherits’ a Caribbean island and creates a new publishing house. The writer narrates this amazing story in his novel Dark Back of Time. The island kingdom has several high officials appointed by the author”. COLPISA –a press agency-. Neither Shiel nor the book are mentioned.  Canarias 7, Las Palmas, (July 8th, 2000.)


mª A. S.-V, “Books:  An ex libris in the shape of an island. Javier Marías launches a new publishing house named after ‘his’ island, Redonda.”  Mentions both Shiel and the book, but deals mainly on JM’s nobility list and official appointments. El Semanal, no. 665, (July 23, 2000): 16.




Gracia, César Pérez,  “Magic gothicism (gothic tales by M.P. Shiel)”, El Heraldo de Aragón, literary supplement “Artes y Letras,” (July 6, 2000), [an extremely favorable review of La mujer de Huguenin.]


Bonilla, Juan, “M. P. Shiel, King of Redonda,” El Mundo, Madrid, (July 11, 2000.)   [Another positive review of La mujer de Huguenin.]


Charcán,  José Luis, brief review of La mujer de Huguenin, La Razón, Madrid, (July 28, 2000.)


Conte, Rafael,  “For a circular literature,” ABC Cultural [weekly arts supplement to ABC], Madrid, No. 444, (July 29, 2000): 23.  [A review of La mujer de Huguenin which retells at some length the Redonda legend and JM’s creation of a publishing house, but has only a few comments on the book itself.  This issue also includes at page 4,  F@r Web: “M.P. Shiel” by R.P. This column discusses literary web sites. This week’s is dedicated to Shiel. After a brief mention of JM’s publishing venture, and of La mujer de Huguenin, the author comments on three web sites. Alan Gullette’s is rated the best.]


Guelbenzu, José María,  “The Memory of the Kingdom,” El País (Babelia No. 462), Madrid, (September 30, 2000.) [A review of La mujer de Huguenin, which also discusses the Redonda Legend.  “These tales frequently offer us memorable moments, particularly so in the descriptive passages...Shiel also is a creator of accurate expressions, finely tuned by the precision of the words employed and their power of evocation (such as this one: “and his lower back had quite the forward curve of age”).]


Marías, Javier,  Dans le dos noir du temps, Paris: Payot & Rivages, 2000. [French translation by Jean-Marie Saint-Lu of Negra espalda del tiempo.]



Crompton, Richmal, Bruma, translated into Spanish by Jaun Antonio Molina Foix, Introduction by Fernando Savater, Preface by Javier Marías, Madrid: Reino de Redonda, January 2001. [Appendices include a selection of Redondan illustrations and updated nobility lists.]


Romero, César, “Reino De La Ficción” [“Kingdom of Fiction”],     In ?        , 18 Jan 2001.  A  review of La mujer de Huguenin, with brief summaries of the careers of Shiel, Marías, & the Redonda Legend.  Javier Marías described as current king.  “All these stories make one shudder and hold in one’s breath; they all display Shiel’s powerful style, thanks to A. Iriarte’s magnificent translation.”


Marías, Javier, A veces un caballero, Madrid: Alfaguara, 2001. [Collection of magazine essays, including his “Reino De Redonda” columns from El Semanal.  The columns originally published April 16, 2000, “Este reino junto al mar,” and April 23, 2000, “This kingdom by the sea,”with Mr. Marías’ summary of the Redonda legend and his succession to Jon Wynne-Tyson’s interests as executor and “king,” are reprinted at pp 223-230.]


“El novelista surafricano J. M. Coetzee  logra el I Premio Reino de Redonda,” El País, Madrid, 25 April 2001, 36. [Article on the award of the first Reino de Redonda prize to novelist John Michael Coetzee.]


“Coetzee gana el Premio Reino de Redonda, creado por Javier Marías,” Diario16, Madrid, 25 April 2001, 49.  [Article on the award of the first Reino de Redonda prize to novelist John Michael Coetzee.]


“L’écrivain John Michael Coetzee récompensé à Redonda,” Le Monde, April 26, 2001, 30.


Dinesen, Isak, Ehrengard, translated into Spanish and Introduced by Javier Marías, Madrid: Reino de Redonda, May 2001. [Appendices include a selection of Redondan illustrations and updated nobility lists.]


Libros (The weekly “Books” supplement to the Barcelona daily el Periódico de Catownya) ,  Number 151, 6 July 2001:

            1. Cover, original unsigned illustration, “Érase una vez un reino” (“Once upon a time there was a Kingdom.”

            2. Pages 2-3, López, Óscar, “Súbditos de un cuento” (“Subjects of a tale”), An account of the Redonda legend, including an interview with Marías.  Also on page 2 is an adjacent box with brief bios of Shiel, Gawsworth, Wynne-Tyson & Marías, and illustrations taken from the ISLAS issue of Waderno.

            3. Page 3, Marías, Javier, “Ha valido la pena” (“It was worth it”) brief account of the first four years of his reign.  “Regia editorial” a box discussing the creation of Reino de Redonda publishing house




© 2011 by John D. Squires




See also:


John D. Squires.  “Of Dreams and Shadows: An Outline of the Redonda Legend, with Some Notes on Various Claimants to its Uncertain Throne.”


Return to:

M. P. Shiel, Lord of Language