Arthur Evelyn St. John Waugh (; 28 October 1903 – 10 April 1966), known as Evelyn Waugh, was an English writer of novels, biographies, and travel books; he was also a prolific journalist and reviewer of books. His best-known works include the early satires ''Decline and Fall'' (1928) and ''A Handful of Dust'' (1934), the novel ''Brideshead Revisited'' (1945), and the Second World War trilogy ''Sword of Honour'' (1952–61). As a writer, Evelyn Waugh is recognised as one of the great prose stylists of the English language in the 20th century.
The son of a publisher, Waugh was educated at Lancing College and then at Hertford College, Oxford, and briefly worked as a schoolmaster before becoming a full-time writer. As a young man, he acquired many fashionable and aristocratic friends, and developed a taste for country house society. In the 1930s, he travelled extensively, often as a special newspaper correspondent; thus was he reporting from Abyssinia at the time of the 1935 Italian invasion. He served in the British armed forces throughout the Second World War (1939–45), first in the Royal Marines and then in the Royal Horse Guards. He was a perceptive writer who used the experiences and the wide range of people he encountered in his works of fiction, generally to humorous effect; Waugh's detachment was such that he fictionalised his own mental breakdown, which occurred in the early 1950s.
After the failure of his first marriage, Waugh converted to Catholicism in 1930. His traditionalist stance led him to strongly oppose all attempts to reform the Church; the changes by the Second Vatican Council (1962–65) greatly disturbed his sensibilities, especially the introduction of the vernacular Mass. That blow to his religious traditionalism, his dislike for the welfare state culture of the post–War world, and the decline of his health, darkened his final years; nonetheless, he continued to write. To the public, Waugh displayed a mask of indifference, but he was capable of great kindness to those he considered his friends. After his death in 1966, Evelyn Waugh acquired a following of new readers, because of their exposure to the film and television versions of his works, such as the television serial ''Brideshead Revisited'' (1981).