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Adams [née Grundy; other married name de Courcy Laffan], Bertha Jane Leith (1837–1912), novelist, was born on 24 August 1837 at Moss-side, Lancashire, the eldest daughter of Frederick Grundy, solicitor, and Jane, née Beardoe. She married an army surgeon, Andrew Leith Adams (1827–1882)...

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Ainsworth, William Harrison (1805–1882), novelist, was born on 4 February 1805 at 21 King Street, Manchester, the elder of two sons of Thomas Ainsworth (1778–1824), a solicitor, and his wife, Ann (1778–1842), daughter of the Revd Ralph Harrison (1748–1810), a nonconformist minister and tutor of languages and literature at the ...

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William Harrison Ainsworth (1805–1882) by Daniel Maclise, c. 1834 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Arnold, William Delafield (1828–1859), army officer and novelist, was born at Laleham, Middlesex, on 7 April 1828, the fourth son of Thomas Arnold (1795–1842), headmaster of Rugby School, and his wife, Mary (1791–1873), daughter of the Revd John Penrose. He was educated at ...

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Aubin, Penelope (1679?–1738), novelist and translator, was the daughter of Sir Richard Temple, third baronet (1634–1697), and his mistress, Anne Charleton, second daughter of the physician and natural philosopher Walter Charleton (1620–1707). Suggestions, originating with Abbé Antoine Prévost, that Penelope was the daughter of a French émigré officer have been disproved by recent research that has also added substantially to aspects of her biography (...

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Austen, Jane (1775–1817), novelist, was born on 16 December 1775 at the rectory in Steventon, near Basingstoke, Hampshire, the seventh child and younger daughter of George Austen (1731–1805), rector of Deane and Steventon and private tutor, and his wife, Cassandra (1739–1827), youngest daughter of the ...

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Jane Austen (1775–1817) by Cassandra Austen, c. 1810 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Ayres, Ruby Mildred (1881–1955), romantic novelist, was born on 28 January 1881 at Gresham Villa, St John's Road, Watford, the third daughter of Charles Pryor (or Prior) Ayres (1850–1914), architect, and his wife, Alice Whitford (1855–1903), daughter of William Griggs, surgeon, of Ramsgate, Kent...

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Bagnold, Enid Algerine [married name Enid Algerine Jones, Lady Jones] (1889–1981), novelist and playwright, was born at Borstal Cottage, Rochester, Kent, on 27 October 1889, the elder child and only daughter of Major (later Colonel) Arthur Henry Bagnold (1854–1943), a military engineer, and his wife, ...

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Barker, Jane (bap. 1652, d. 1732), poet and novelist, was baptized on 17 May 1652 in Blatherwycke, Northamptonshire, the second of three surviving children of Thomas Barker (d. 1681) and Anne, née Connock (d. 1685?). Thomas, whose family origins are uncertain, may have had a court position during the reign of ...