Simon Harvester was born Henry St. John Clair Rumbold-Gibbs on June 28, 1910, in Salisbury, Wiltshire, England. Following graduation from Marlborough College, Wiltshire, Harvester studied painting in London, Paris, and Venice. He was married three times and had one son, from his first marriage.
Harvester’s career included work as an industrial reporter, film critic, publisher’s reader, foreign and war correspondent, chicken farmer, and political analyst. He also served in the Royal Corps of Signals and the Royal Intelligence Corps of the British Army. By the close of World War II, Harvester had visited nearly every Third World country, using his knowledge of many languages (English, French, German, Afrikaans, Arabic, Hindustani, and various dialects) to gather background information for his novels. In 1950, he received the Anisfield-Wolf Award (for improving racial understanding) for Twilight in South Africa (1950). Harvester died in April, 1975.