He studied at Clifton and Trinity College, Oxford. Afterwards, he also spent some time learning art at Edinburgh and Paris. In 1913, he joined the Nigerian Political Service, under the British colonial system and was posted out to Nigeria. While working there, he also fought in the First World War, with the local Nigerian Regiment. After the end of the war, he returned to politics. However, he was becoming very sick, and was advised to retire and go back home.
After retiring back to Britain, he began to write seriously and full-time. His first novel, Aissa Saved, was published in 1932. He published several other works after this, including The Captive and the Free, Herself Surprised, A Fearful Joy, The Horse's Mouth, To be a Pilgrim and others.
He died in March 1957.