H ad things turned out slightly differently, Tom Stoppard could have grown up in Australia. In 1942, his mother fled Singapore with her four-year-old son Tomáš Straussler (as he was then) and his older brother Petr to escape the Japanese occupation, having left their homeland of Czechoslovakia three years earlier to escape the Nazis.

Tom Stoppard in 1967. Photo © Jane Brown for The Guardian

They set sail...

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