He was born in Auckland in New Zealand and educated in England at the King's School, Canterbury and at Emmanuel College, Cambridge. He worked as a teacher before turning to writing full time. His first novel was The Wooden Horse (1909), with Fortitude (1913) his first great success. He worked for the Red Cross in Russia during World War I, experiences which fed his The Dark Forest (1916) and The Secret City (1919). The latter won the inaugural James Tait Black Memorial Prize.
Read The Dark Forest by Sir Hugh Walpole, one of nine of his works available free from Project Gutenberg.