Edward Morgan Forster (1st January 1879 - 7th June 1970) was a Benson Medal winning author of novels, short stories, essays and one libretto. Morgan, which he was always known as, spent his formative years, between the ages of four and fourteen, living in Hertfordshire. His mother brought him out to the country from London in 1883 after his father passed away. Though he would later move away to Tonbridge and Cambridge (to attend the university), he remained affectionate towards Rooks Nest in Stevenage for the rest of his life.Forster published five novels in his lifetime (Maurice and the unfinished Arctic Summer were published posthumously). His work is best known for its ironic analysis of the British class structure and explorations of sexuality, particularly homosexual love. In the foreword to Maurice, Forster describes his own struggles with his homosexuality, though critics still argue the extent to which his sexuality influenced his writing.This interest in and critique of the hypocrisy present in early 20th century British society not only influenced Forster's literature; it was a major driving force in all aspects of his life. A conscientious objector to the First World War, he instead used his time to volunteer for the International Red Cross. From the 1950s onwards he held many influential and important positions within the British humanist movement. He was a Vice-President of the Ethical Union in the 1950s President of the Cambridge Humanists from 1959 to his death, the first President of the National Council for Civil Liberties (now Liberty) and a member of the Advisory Council of the British Humanist Association from its foundation in 1963. He believed in fundamental rights, promoted tolerance and opposed censorship. The epigraph to his 1910 novel Howards End, “Only Connect”, succinctly sums up his humanistic beliefs. Indeed, these two words are the centrepiece of a commemorative sculpture by Angela Godfrey commissioned by Friends of the Forster Country.The land north of St Nicholas Church is today known as Forster Country, it is the last remaining farmland within the boundary of Stevenage. Its preservation was important to Forster; for him, the countryside was a place of revitalisation and inspiration. He mused that, had his rural formative years been interrupted, he 'should have become a different person, married and fought in the war.'Morgan passed away in Coventry on 7th June 1970.