Hector Hugh Munro, who often wrote under the pen name Saki, was a British writer of the Edwardian era. Though he wrote plays, two satires, and a short novel, he is best known for his humorous and macabre short stories.
Born in Akyab, Burma, then part of the British Empire, on 18 December 1870, H.H. Munro's mother died in 1872 following a traumatic incident with a runaway cow. He and his two siblings moved to England, where they were raised by their grandmother and unmarried aunts. Munro's father, an inspector-general with the Burma police, retired in 1887 and began spending time touring Europe with his children.
Munro returned to Burma (sometimes called Myanmar) to work in the police force at the age of 22, but a bout of malaria forced him to return to England 13 months later. After recovering, he began working as a journalist for a number of newspapers, including the Morning Post and the Westminster Gazette. For the latter publication, he wrote a series of satires based on Alice and Wonderland characters that would later be published as the novella-length The Westminster Alice. Munro's only non-fiction book, The Rise of the Russian Empire, was first published in 1900.
In the early 1900s, Munro began publishing collections of his witty, acerbic stories, often featuring recurring characters who parody Edwardian high society. He also began traveling as a newspaper correspondent, covering stories in the Balkans, Russia, and Paris. He moved back to England in 1907, shortly before his father's death.
Munro continued his work as a journalist and an author until World War I broke out in 1914. He enlisted and was stationed in Sussex. A year later, he was on the front in France. In 1916, Munro was hospitalized for malaria, but returned to his battalion after a month in response to news of an impending attack. On 13 November 1916, just days after leaving the hospital, he was killed on the front by a sniper.
Since his death, Munro has become widely considered one of the best short story writers in the English language. Stories such as "The Interlopers" and "The Open Window" are frequently anthologized. His stories are now public domain, and the full text of many can be found on the Internet.