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

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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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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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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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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 ...

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Barrington [née Wilson], Emilie Isabel (1841–1933), biographer and novelist, was born on 18 October 1841 at 15 Hertford Street, Mayfair, Westminster, the youngest of the six daughters of James Wilson (1805–1860) and Elizabeth Preston (d. 1886). Her father was a merchant, an important figure in the ...

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Elizabeth Lee

revised by Annette Peach

Bayly, Ada Ellen [pseud. Edna Lyall] (1857–1903), novelist, born at 5 Montpelier Villas, Brighton, Sussex, on 25 March 1857, was the youngest of the four daughters and a son of Robert Bayly, barrister of the Inner Temple, and his wife, Mary Winter...

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Bellerby [née Parker], (Mary Eirene) Frances (1899–1975), poet and novelist, was born on 29 August 1899 at St Aidan's House, Summerhill Road, St George, Bristol, the younger of the two children of Frederick Talbot Parker (d. 1954), Anglo-Catholic clergyman, and his wife, ...

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See Saunders, John

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Benson, Edward Frederic (1867–1940), novelist, was born at Wellington College on 24 July 1867. He was the third son of Edward White Benson (1829–1896), headmaster of Wellington College and subsequently archbishop of Canterbury, and his wife, Mary Sidgwick (1841–1918). He was a younger brother of ...

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Bentley, Phyllis Eleanor (1894–1977), novelist, was born on 19 November 1894 at Victoria House, Stanley Road, Halifax, Yorkshire, the fourth child and only daughter of Joseph Edwin Bentley (1855–1926), master dyer and finisher, and his wife, Eleanor Kettlewell (1859–1949), daughter of Thomas Kettlewell...

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Beresford, John Davys (1873–1947), novelist and essayist, was born on 7 March 1873 at the rectory, Castor, Northamptonshire, to an evangelically minded couple, the Revd John James Beresford (1822–1897), a Church of England clergyman, and his wife, Adelaide Elizabeth Morgan (b. 1836)...

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A. H. Bullen

revised by M. O. Grenby

Bisset, Robert (1758/9–1805), historian and novelist, was one of the leading anti-Jacobin writers during the era of the French Revolution. Little is known of his life beyond his published works. His first production, appearing in 1793–4 (with a second edition in 1799), was a new edition of ...

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Richard Doddridge Blackmore (1825–1900) by Frederick Jenkins © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Blackmore, Richard Doddridge (1825–1900), novelist and fruit farmer, was born on 7 June 1825, at the vicarage, Longworth, Berkshire, the third but second surviving son of the Revd John Blackmore (1794–1858) and his first wife, Anne Basset Knight (1794–1825). Anne was the eldest daughter of the ...