Margery Allingham was born in London in 1904. Her first novel was published when she was seventeen. In 1929 she published The Crime at Black Dudley and introduced the character who was to become the hallmark of her writing - Albert Campion. Margery Allingham died in 1966.
Nina Bawden (1925-2012) was one of Britain's best-loved writers for both adults and children. Several of her children's books - Carrie's War, a Phoenix Award winner;The Peppermint Pig, which won the Guardian Fiction Award; and Keeping Henry - have become contemporary classics. She wrote over forty novels, slightly more than half of which are for adults, and she was shortlisted for the 1987 Man Booker Prize for Circles of Deceit. She received the prestigious S T Dupont Golden Pen Award for a lifetime's contribution to literature in 2004, and in 2010 The Birds on the Trees was shortlisted for the Lost Booker of 1970.
One of Britain's most original writers, Angela Carter was highly lauded for her novels, short stories and journalism. She died in February 1992.
Willa Cather (1873-1947) was born in Virginia where for generations her ancestors farmed land. She became a teacher and journalist and is one of the greatest American writers of the twentieth century.
Barbara Comyns (1909-92) was born in Bidford-on-Avon in Warwickshire. She was an artist and writer, worked in advertising, dealt in old cars and antiques, bred poodles and developed property. She was twice married, and she and her second husband lived in Spain for eighteen years, returning to the UK in the early 1970s. She is the author of eleven books, including Sisters by a River (1947), Our Spoons Came from Woolworths (1950), The Vet's Daughter (1959), The Skin Chairs (1962) and A Touch of Mistletoe (1967). She died in Shropshire in 1992.
Amanda Craig is a well-known journalist and broadcaster. She is the author of A VICIOUS CIRCLE and IN A DARK WOOD. You can visit her website a www.amandacraig.com
Hans Fallada was one of the best-known German writers of the twentieth century. Born in 1893 in Greifswald, north-east Germany, as Rudolph Wilhelm Adolf Ditzen, he took his pen-name from a Brothers Grimm fairytale. His most famous works include the novels, Little Man, What Now? and The Drinker. Fallada died in 1947 in Berlin.
Miles Franklin (1879-1954) was born into a pioneering family settled in New South Wales, Australia. She wrote My Brilliant Career when she was only sixteen. Publication in 1901 brought instant fame and a notoriety that was so unwelcome that she forbade its republication until ten years after her death. Miles Franklin then went to America, where she worked for the Women's Trade Union League, and later to London and Salonika, where she did war work and was political secretary for the National Housing Council. In 1933 she returned to Australia, where she spent the rest of her life. My Career Goes Bung, the sequel to My Brilliant Career, was published in 1946, and her autobiography, Childhood at Brindabella, posthumously in 1963.
Marilyn French (1929 - 2009) was regarded as one of the greatest living feminist writers. Her controversial and provocative first novel THE WOMEN'S ROOM, published in 1977, sold 20 million copies worldwide and quickly became a classic of the women's movement. Marilyn French was also a literary critic. She died in May 2009.
Stella Dorothea Gibbons was born in London in 1902. She studied journalism at University College, London, and worked for ten years on various papers, including the Evening Standard. Her first novel Cold Comfort Farm (1932) was (and is) hugely successful. She married the actor and singer Allan Webb, who died in 1959. They had one daughter. Stella Gibbons died in 1989.
Elinor Glyn (1864-1943), who liked to 'sin on a tiger skin', was as romantically exotic as the heroines of her novels.
Joseph Heller was born in 1923 in Brooklyn, New York. He served as a bombardier in the Second World War and then attended New York University and Columbia University and then Oxford, the last on a Fullbright scholarship. Joseph Heller is an honorary fellow of St. Catherine's College, Oxford, which he visits periodically to meet students who are writing fiction. He lives in East Hampton, New York
Zora Neale Hurston
In the Harlem Renaissance of the 1930s, Zora Neale Hurston was the preeminent black woman writer in the United States. She died in 1960 in a Welfare home, was buried in an unmarked grave, and quickly faded from literary consciousness until 1975 when Alice Walker almost single-handedly revived interest in her work. Nearly every black woman writer of significance - including Maya Angelou, Toni Morrison and Alice Walker - acknowledges Zora Neale Hurston as their literary foremother.
Elizabeth Jenkins (1905-2010) was a distinguished biographer (of Jane Austen, Lady Caroline Lamb and Elizabeth I), historian and novelist. She was awarded the OBE in 1981. THE TORTOISE AND THE HARE, her sixth novel, was first published in 1953, and is generally considered her greatest work of fiction.
Molly Keane was born in Co. Kildare, Ireland, in 1904 into a 'rather serious Hunting and Fishing Church-going family' who gave her little education at the hands of governesses. Molly Keane's interests when young were 'hunting and horses and having a good time'; she began writing only to supplement her dress allowance. She died in 1996.
Catherine King was born in Rotherham, South Yorkshire. A search for her roots - her father, grandfather and great-grandfather all worked with coal, steel or iron - and an interest in local industrial history provided inspiration for her stories. Catherine wrote ten novels, including A Sister's Courage and Her Mother's Secret. Her second novel, Silk and Steel, was shortlisted for the Romantic Novel of the Year award.Catherine sadly passed away in 2015.
Shena Mackay was born in Edinburgh in 1944. Her writing career began when she won a prize for a poem written when she was fourteen. Two novellas, Dust Falls on Eugene Schlumberger and Toddler on the Run were published before she was twenty. Redhill Rococo won the 1987 Fawcett Prize, Dunedin won a 1994 Scottish Arts Council Book Award, The Orchard on Fire was shortlisted for the 1996 Booker Prize and, in 2003, Heligoland was shortlisted for both the Orange Prize and Whitbread Novel Award. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and lives in Southampton.
Erich Maria Remarque
Erich Maria Remarque was born in Osnabruck in 1899. Exiled from Nazi Germany, and deprived of his citizenship, he lived in America and Switzerland. The author of a dozen novels, Remarque died in 1970.
Mary McCarthy (1912-1989) was a well-known novelist, critic, journalist and memoirist. Her most famous novel is THE GROUP.
Grace Metalious was born in a French-Canadian ghetto in New Hampshire in 1924. She wrote three other novels and died of cirrhosis of the liver at age 39.