Capes was born in London, one of eleven children: his elder sister, Harriet Capes (1849-1936), was a noted translator and author of more than a dozen children's books. His uncle, John Moore Capes, published a semi-autobiographical novel. His grandfather, John Capes, had converted to Roman Catholicism, so Capes was brought up a Catholic, and educated at the Catholic college Beaumont College. However, he rapidly 'gave this up'.
Capes was a prolific Victorian author, publishing more than forty volumes - romances, mysteries, poetry, history - together with many articles for the magazines of the day. His early writing career was as a journalist, later becoming editor of a paper called The Theatre, which was well known in late nineteenth century London. Other magazines for which Capes wrote included Blackwood's, Butterfly, Cassell's, Cornhill Magazine, Hutton's Magazine, Illustrated London News, Lippincott's, Macmillan's Magazine, Literature, New Witness, Pall Mall Magazine, Pearson's Magazine, The Idler, The New Weekly, and The Queen.
He finally committed to writing novels full-time, taking around four months for each novel. On several occasions he had two or three novels published in the same year - and even four in 1910. His first success came in 1897, when he entered a $30,000 competition for new authors sponsored by the Chicago Record. He was awarded second prize for The Mill of Silence, published by Rand, McNally that year. The following year the Chicago Record ran the competition again, and this time Capes won it with The Lake of Wine, published by Heinemann (book publisher).
He died in the 1918 ’flu epidemic. A memorial plaque commemorating his life is in Winchester Cathedral (where he worked in the years leading up to his death), affixed to the wall by the door which leads to the crypt.
Capes' son Renalt Capes, and grandson Ian Bernard Graham Burns, are also published authors.
Read more about this topic: Bernard Capes
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