Alfred Edgar Coppard (4 January 1878 – 13 January 1957) was an English writer, noted for his influence on the short story form, and poet.
Coppard was born the son of a tailor and a housemaid in Folkestone, and had little formal education. Coppard grew up in difficult, poverty-stricken circumstances; he later described his childhood as "shockingly poor" and Frank O'Connor described Coppard's early life as "cruel". He left school at the age of nine to work as an errand boy for a Jewish trouser maker in Whitechapel during the period of the Jack the Ripper murders.
In the early 1920s, and still unpublished, he was in Oxford and a leading light of a literary group, the New Elizabethans, who met in a pub to read Elizabethan drama. W. B. Yeats sometimes attended the meetings. At this period he met Richard Hughes and Edgell Rickword, amongst others.
Coppard was a member of the Independent Labour Party for a period. Coppard's fiction was influenced by Thomas Hardy and on its initial publication, favourably compared to that of H. E. Bates. Coppard's work enjoyed a surge in popularity in the US after his Selected Tales was chosen as a selection by the Book of the Month Club.
In the profile in Twentieth Century Authors, Coppard lists Abraham Lincoln as the politician he most admired. Coppard also listed Sterne, Dickens, James, Hardy, Shaw, Chekhov and Joyce as authors he valued; conversely, he expressed a dislike for the works of D. H. Lawrence, T. E. Lawrence, and Rudyard Kipling.
Some of Coppard's collections, such as Adam and Eve and Pinch Me and Fearful Pleasures, contain stories with fantastic elements, either of supernatural horror or allegorical fantasy.
In Nancy Cunard's 1937 book Authors take Sides on the Spanish War, Coppard took the side of the Republicans.
A.E. Coppard was the uncle of George Coppard, a British soldier who served with the Machine Gun Corps during World War I, known for his memoirs With A Machine Gun to Cambrai.
Coppard's short stories were praised by Ford Madox Ford and Frank O'Connor. Coppard's supernatural fiction was admired by Algernon Blackwood. Brian Stableford argues that Coppard's fantasy has a similar style to that of Walter de la Mare and that "many of his mercurial and oddly plaintive fantasies are deeply disturbing".Adam & Eve & Pinch Me (1921)
Clorinda Walks in Heaven (1922)
The Black Dog and Other Stories (1923)
Fishmonger's Fiddle: Tales (1925)
The Field of Mustard (1926)
Silver Circus (1928)
Count Stefan (1928)
The Higgler (1930)
Nixey's Harlequin (1931)
Fares Please! (1931)
Crotty Shinkwin and The Beauty Spot (1932)
Dunky Fitlow (1933)
Ring the Bells of Heaven (1933)
Emergency Exit (1934)
Pink Furniture (1935)
Polly Oliver (1935)
Ninepenny Flute (1937)
You Never Know, Do You? (1939)
Ugly Anna (1944)
Fearful Pleasures (1946)
Selected Tales (1946)
The Dark Eyed Lady – Fourteen Tales (1947)
Collected Tales (1948)
Lucy in Her Pink Coat (1954)
Selected Stories (1972)
The Collected Tales of A. E. Coppard (1976)
The Higgler and Other Stories (1991)
The Man from the Caravan and Other Stories (1999)
Father Raven and Other Tales (2006)
Weep not my wanton : selected short stories (2013)
Hips and Haws (1922)
Yokohoma Garland & Other Poems (1926)
Pelaga and Other Poems (1926)
The Collected Poems of A. E. Coppard (1928)
Cherry Ripe: Poems (1935)
Simple Day: Selected Poems (1978)
The Hundredth Story of A. E. Coppard (1930)( Illustrated by Robert Gibbings)
Good Samaritans (1934)
These Hopes of Heaven (1934)
Tapster's Tapestry :A Tale (1938) (Illustrated by Gwenda Morgan)
Rummy: that noble game expounded in prose, poetry, diagram and engraving (1932) (Illustrated by Robert Gibbings).
Songs from Robert Burns. Selected by A. E. Coppard, with wood engravings by Mabel M. Annesley (1925)
Consequences, a complete story in the manner of the old parlour game, in nine chapters, each by a different author (1932)
(Coppard was one of the contributors to this book; the others were Sean O'Faolain, Elizabeth Bowen, John Van Druten, Gladys Bronwyn Stern, Ronald Fraser, Malachi Whitaker, Norah Hoult and Hamish Maclaren )The Fairies Return, or New Tales for Old (1934)
It's Me, O Lord! (1957)