Leslie Hill (1918-2009) was a giant in the field of English as a Foreign Language (EFL). When he died in 2009, the world of EFL lost its most prolific writer. His output was prodigious – over 200 books, of which 100 were still in print at the time of his death. He was by far and away the most famous and successful author in this field to have ever lived.
His greatness was not limited to quantity. Hill pioneered the technique of controlled vocabulary in EFL. His readers, which were published by Oxford University Press, were graded in steps of 500 words, 750 works, 2000 words and 2500 words. This concept has now become a standard for writing in this field. His stories sparkled with wit and humor, making enjoyable reading for anyone – and not only students of English as a Second Language, and have been appreciated by learners of English all over the world. Hill also gave permission for some of his books to be published in the form of computer-based English lessons by the Israeli company, Self-Access English Learning Center (www.english4students.com).
Before he became a writer he had a remarkable career. A childhood spent in Greece and a classical education at Oxford, gave him command of several languages: fluent Greek, French, German and Spanish. A committed athlete, he competed on the university rowing team and obtained distinction. He served bravely in the British army in WW2, was captured by the Germans, escaped from a POW camp and was recaptured. In the final months of the war, he was almost starved to death by his Nazi captors. Later, he was attached to the British delegation at the Nurnberg trials.
Leslie Hill wrote a fascinating memoir of his life, detailing his experiences in the war and the aftermath. It makes engrossing reading, and may also be of interest to historians of WW2 and Nurnberg. It was his fond wish to see his memoir published. Sadly, neither his publisher, Oxford University Press, nor any other company chose to offer this book to the public.
It is my privilege to honor the memory of Leslie Hill by arranging for the publication of his memoir on this web site.
Self Access English Learning Center