Green, Frederick Lawrence (1902–53), novelist, was born in Portsmouth, Hampshire, England, son of George Edward Green, schoolteacher, and Elizabeth Green (née Jermy). His education at Salesian College, Farnborough, was interrupted by frequent bouts of illness that required long periods of convalescence, spent fishing and swimming. Tutored by his father at home, he was encouraged to take up a profession and spent a number of years in an accountant's office. He disliked his position and left in 1925 to travel the south coast of England, working in hotels, breweries, and factories. Marrying (1929) Margaret, daughter of Herbert Edwards, Belfast city's senior inspector of taxes, he visited the city in 1932. The couple settled and lived in Ulsterville Avenue, Belfast, from where he wrote the first of his fourteen novels, Julius Penton (1934). He was unknown as a writer when he arrived in Belfast; by the time he left he was a best-seller, remarking that the city provided him with the energy he needed as a novelist. Odd man out (1945), a thriller in which the action follows a failed robbery by the paramilitary Johnny McQueen as he and his partner Kathleen Sullivan try to escape Belfast, sold more than a million copies. James Mason and Kathleen Ryan played the leading roles in the successful film of the book, scripted by Green and the director Carol Reed. It contained performances from established Irish stage actors such as F. J. McCormick (qv) and Cyril Cusack (qv), but Conor Cruise O'Brien joked that the cast's accents generally led him to believe that the organisation to which they belonged was the BBC, not the IRA. It won the best film award at the 1947 British Film Academy Awards. Green remained a remote figure to the Belfast literary establishment but was known to appear in Campbell's café to remonstrate with young writers that they ignored the dramatic subject matter of their own city. A flask for the journey (1946) is a rare experimental novel and contains a surreal account of the trial of a prisoner of war for capital punishment in a detention camp. Green moved to Bristol in 1951 and published his last novel, Ambush for the hunter (1952), a Cold War thriller about the discovery of a female communist spy in Britain. He died in hospital in Bristol on 14 April 1953 and was survived by his wife.
Donat O'Donnell [Conor Cruise O'Brien], ‘Beauty and Belfast: a note on Odd man out”, Bell, xiv, no. 2 (May 1947), 55–62; Belfast News Letter, Times, Ir. Times, 16 Apr. 1953; John Wilson Foster, Forces and themes in Ulster fiction (1974); John Boyd, The middle of my journey (1990); Edna Longley, The living stream (1994); Robert Greacen, Even without Irene (1969); Kevin Rockett, The Irish filmography (1996)