Cyril Vernon Connolly (10 September 1903 - 26 November 1974) was an English intellectual, literary critic and writer.
Cyril Connolly was born in Coventry, Warwickshire, the only child of Matthew William Kemble Connolly, an officer in the King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, by his wife Muriel Maud Vernon, daughter of an Anglo-Irish family seated at Clontarf Castle, Dublin. His parents had met while his father was serving in Ireland, and his father's next posting was to South Africa. Connolly's father was also a malacologist and mineral collector of some reputation and collected many samples in Africa. Cyril Connolly's childhood days were spent with his father in South Africa, with his mother's family at Clontarf Castle, and with his grandmother in Bath and other parts of England.
Connolly was educated at St Cyprian's School, Eastbourne where he enjoyed the company of George Orwell and Cecil Beaton. He was a favourite of the formidable Mrs Wilkes but was later to criticise the "character-building" ethos of the school. He wrote "Orwell proved to me that there existed an alternative to character, Intelligence. Beaton showed me another, Sensibility." Connolly won the Harrow History Prize, pushing Orwell into second place, and the English prize leaving Orwell with Classics. He then won a scholarship to Eton a year after Orwell.