John Cowper Powys (; 8 October 187217 June 1963) was a British philosopher, lecturer, novelist, literary critic, and poet. Powys was born in Shirley, Derbyshire, where his father was vicar of St. Michael and All Angels Parish Church, between 1871 and 1879.
Although Powys published a collection of poems in 1896 and his first novel in 1915, he did not gain success as a writer until he published the novel ''Wolf Solent'' in 1929. He was influenced by many writers, but he has been particularly seen as a successor to Thomas Hardy, and ''Wolf Solent'', ''A Glastonbury Romance'' (1932), along with ''Weymouth Sands'' (1934) and ''Maiden Castle'' (1936), are often referred to as his Wessex novels. As with Hardy's novels, the landscape plays a major role in Powys's works, and an elemental philosophy is important in the lives of his characters. In 1934 he published his important ''Autobiography''.
Powys was also a highly successful itinerant lecturer, first in England and then from 1905 until 1930 in the USA. Many of Powys's novels were written in America and his early novels, and all his major novels, up to and including ''Owen Glendower'', as well as ''Autobiography,'' were first published in the United States.