Wilson, Colin (Henry) (1931– )
Popular British novelist and writer on occultism who attracted
worldwide attention with his first book, The Outsider. He was
born on June 26, 1931, in Leicester, England. He was educated
at the Gateway School, Leicester, and worked at a great variety
of jobs before becoming a writer. In 1947 he was employed by
a wool company, and he subsequently worked as a laboratory
assistant at a secondary technical school (1947–48) and as a tax
collector (1947–49). He spent time in Germany and France,
and while in Paris he worked on Merlin and Paris Review. Wilson
was writer-in-residence at Hollins College, Virginia (1966–67)
and now resides in Cornwall, England.
While preparing his first book The Outsider (1956), Wilson
researched at public libraries, slept outdoors, and wrote in coffee
houses. The book was an instant success, and the term ‘‘outsider’’
passed into common use as a romantic way to denote a
type of brilliant misfit capable of surveying life in an original
way. Assuming that role himself, Wilson has shown originality
in his other writings, and in recent years he has achieved the
status of an authority on popular occultism for his many writings
and reviews in that subject area. His major study The Occult
(1971) is a substantive survey of the emerging occult community
at the beginning of the 1970s. He has produced several
books annually through the 1980s to the present. He has continued
to reflect upon the world of psychic experience, the occult,
and alternative spirituality. His novel, The Space Vampires
(1975), was turned into a movie.
Willis, F. L. H. Encyclopedia of Occultism & Parapsychology • 5th Ed.
Wilson, Colin. Beyond the Outsider. Boston Houghton, Mifflin,
———. Enigmas and Mysteries. Garden City, N.Y. Doubleday,
———. The Essential Colin Wilson. London Harrap, 1985.
———. The Geller Phenomena. London Aldus Books, 1976.
———. Mysterious Powers. Reprinted in the United States as
They Had Strange Powers. Garden City, N.Y. Doubleday, 1975.
———. The Occult. London Hodder & Stoughton; New
York Random House, 1971.
———. The Unexplained. Lake Oswego, Ore. Lost Pleiade
Press, 1975.
Wilson, Colin, and John Grant, eds. Directory of Possibilities.
Exeter, England Webb & Bower, 1981.