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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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Aguilar, Grace (1816–1847), writer on Jewish history and religion and novelist, was born on 2 June 1816 in Hackney, Middlesex, the eldest of the three children of Emanuel Aguilar (1787–1845), merchant, and his wife, Sarah (d. 1854), daughter of Jacob Dias Fernandez...

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Allan, Eliza MacNaughton Luke [Dot] (1886–1964), novelist, was born on 13 May 1886 at Headswood House, Denny, Stirlingshire, the only child of Alexander Allan, iron merchant, and his wife, Jean, daughter of John Luke, founder of the Vale paper works in Denny. She was educated privately and attended classes at ...

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See Angadi, Ayana Deva

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Arnim, Mary Annette [May] von [née Mary Annette Beauchamp; known as Elizabeth von Arnim; other married name Mary Annette Russell, Countess Russell] (1866–1941), novelist, was born on 31 August 1866, at Kiribili Point, Sydney, Australia, the daughter of Henry Herron Beauchamp (1825–1907)...

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See under Ash [née Sidhanta], Ranjana

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Ashford [married name Devlin], Margaret Mary Julia [Daisy] (1881–1972), child writer, was born on 7 April 1881 at Elm Lodge, Petersham, Surrey, the eldest of the three daughters of William Henry Roxburghe Ashford (1836–1912), a former official of the War Office, and his wife, ...

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Margaret Mary Julia Ashford (1881–1972) by unknown photographer, c. 1890 Getty Images

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Ashton, Winifred [pseud. Clemence Dane] (1888–1965), playwright and novelist, was born on 21 February 1888 at Westcombe, Westcombe Park Road, Greenwich, London, the daughter of Arthur Charles Ashton, commission agent, and his wife, Florence Bentley, who provided a home of late Victorian respectability against which ...

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Winifred Ashton [Clemence Dane] (1888–1965) by Paul Tanqueray © Estate of Paul Tanqueray

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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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Maker: Cassandra Austen

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

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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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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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Ayrton [née Walshe; other married name Balchin], Elisabeth Evelyn (1910–1991), novelist and writer on cookery, was born on 2 February 1910 at Littlefield Farm, Worplesdon, Surrey, the eldest child of Douglas Thomas George Walshe (1880–1952) and his first wife, Phyllis Sydney, née...

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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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Dame Beryl Margaret Bainbridge (1932–2010) by Eamonn McCabe, 2002 © Eamonn McCabe

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Bainbridge, Dame Beryl Margaret (1932–2010), actress, writer, and artist, was born on 21 November 1932 at 294 Menlove Avenue, Allerton, Liverpool, the younger child of Richard Bainbridge, commercial agent, and his wife, Winifred, née Baines. Her father was a self-made man who left school at ten, established himself successfully in business, but then went bankrupt as a result of the 1929 financial crash. His wife, who considered that her husband had married above himself, was disappointed and embittered by the family's reduced circumstances, and the young ...

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Bargate [married names Proud, Keeffe], Verity Eileen (1940–1981), theatre producer and novelist, was born on 6 August 1940 in Exeter, the second child of Ronald Arthur Bargate, electrical shopkeeper and later sales manager in the London Metal Warehouse, and his wife, ...

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Barker, Audrey Lilian [Pat] (1918–2002), novelist and short-story writer, was born on 13 April 1918 at 1 River Cottages, St Paul's Cray, Kent, the only child of Harry Henry Barker, then serving as an air mechanic in the RAF, previously a dairyman, and later a motor mechanic and railway clerk, and his wife, ...