Tuesday, January 1, 2013

British & Irish Women Writers of Fiction 1910-1960 (N - O)

For more information about this list, please see the introduction, linked below. 

You can download the entire list in a single PDF. Clicking on the link below will open a Google Docs page displaying the entire list in PDF. To save a copy of the PDF, just click on the little down arrow in the upper left. You can also print the list from the Google Docs page, but be warned that it now weighs in at 501 pages! 


[Current total: 2,263 writers]

UPDATED 5/7/2022


NAPIER, ANN (16 Aug 1905 – 30 May 1975)
(pseudonym of Nancy White, married name Naumann)
Author of a single novel, Lost Content (1937). Little is known about book or author, except that Napier was born in the UK and emigrated to the US as an adult.

NAPIER, ELMA (23 Mar 1892 – 12 Nov 1973)
(née Gordon-Cummin, earlier married name Gibbs, aka Elizabeth Garner)
and travel writer who spent much of her life in Australia and Dominica, publishing two novels under her pseudonym—Duet in Discord (1936), a melodramatic romance with autobiographical overtones, and A Flying Fish Whispered (1938)—as well as a travel book, Nothing So Blue (1927). She also wrote three volumes of memoirs—Youth Is a Blunder (1948), Winter Is in July (1949), and Black and White Sands (1962).

NAPIER, EVA MARIE LOUISA (1846 – 7 Feb 1930)
(née MacDonald, earlier married name Langham, aka Baroness Napier of Magdala)
1900s – 1910s
Author of eight novels of romantic melodrama—OCEF says "Her speciality was the moral contamination of innocent young women by their worldly elders." Titles are As The Sparks Fly Upward (1905), A Stormy Morning (1908), Fiona (1909), How She Played the Game (1910), Can Man Put Asunder? (1911), Muddling Through (1912), To the Third and Fourth Generations (1913), and Half a Lie (1916).

NAPIER, [JANE] ROSAMOND (19 Jul 1879 – 16 Feb 1976)
(married name Lawrence)
1900s – 1930s
Author of eight romantic novels spread over nearly 30 years, including The Heart of a Gypsy (1909), The Faithful Failure (1910), Letters to Patty (1911), Tamsie (1912), Tess Harcourt (1913), Release (1921), Conversation in Heaven (1936), and Alpine Episode (1938). Indian Embers (1949) is a memoir of her life in India with her husband, a member of the Indian Civil Service.

NASH, FRANCES [OLIVIA HARTOPP] (20 Mar 1887 – 22 Dec 1953)
1920s – 1950s
Author of more than a dozen girls' stories, including many with Guiding themes. Titles include How Audrey Became a Guide (1922) and several Audrey sequels, Rosie the Peddler (1925), Richenda and the Mystery Girl (1928) and at least one Richenda sequel, Kattie of the Balkans (1931), Celia Steps In (1946), and Second Class Judy (1952).

Nash, Newlyn

Nayler, Eliot
          see FRANKAU, PAMELA [SYDNEY]

NEEDHAM, [AMY] VIOLET (5 Jun 1876 – 8 Jun 1967)
1930s – 1950s
Author of nearly 20 children's titles. Her most famous works are her "Stormy Petrel" sequence of eight Ruritanian adventures, comprised of The Black Riders (1939), The Emerald Crown (1940), The Stormy Petrel (1942), The House of the Paladin (1945), The Betrayer (1950), Richard and the Golden Horse Shoe (1954), The Secret of the White Peacock (1956), and The Red Rose of Ruvina (1957). The Woods of Windri (1944) and The Changeling of Monte Lucio (1946) are also Ruritanian in them, while The Boy in Red (1948) and The Avenue (1952) focus on the Glorious Revolution. She also wrote five books with contemporary settings and some overlapping of characters—these are The Horn of Merlyns (1943), The Bell of the Four Evangelists (1947), Pandora of Parrham Royal (1951), How Many Miles to Babylon? (1953), and The Great House of Estraville (1955). Many of Needham's books have been reprinted by Girls Gone By in recent years. Some of her previously unpublished work appeared as The Sword of St. Cyprian and Other Stories.

NEILL, MARGARET P[ENELOPE]. (23 Aug 1870 – 2 Jun 1952)
(née Munro)
1930s – 1940s
Author of several Christian-themed children's titles, including the school story Beauty for Ashes, or, The Sploancos and What They Did (1930). Other titles are Gwyneth at Work (1935), Secrets at Sidleigh (1936), Gowanbraes (1937), Jean's Plan of Campaign (1937), The Murrays of Moorsfoot (1939), Enid's Discoveries (1946), and Lady Gerrie's Dilemma (1946). The last might be a novel for adults. According to John Herrington's research, Neill apparently lived alternately in England and India, and appears to have qualified as a doctor.

NEILSON, SHEILA M. (dates unknown)
Untraced author of a single romantic novel, Destiny's Daughter (1932).

NELSON, MURIEL (dates unknown)
1920s – 1930s
Untraced author of nearly thirty romances, probably newsprint or dime novels. Titles include Her Second Honeymoon (1920), Her Haunted Honeymoon (1921), Married—And Done For! (1922), The Way of a Jilt (1925), A Loveless Wooing (1926), A Marriage of Hatred (1930), The Woman Hater (1934), Thou Shalt Not Judge (1937), and People Throw Stones (1938).

NELSON, VALERIE K. (28 Jan 1905 – 29 Oct 1980)
(pseudonym of Cecilia Lacey)
1920s – 1960s
Author of more than 50 romantic novels, all but the first for Mills & Boon. Titles include The Pampas Rose (1929), Matching Chiffon (1936), Mignon Means Darling (1937), Yesterday's Wife (1940), Verena Fayre—Probationer (1943), Adventure for Flora (1948), Poppies in the Corn (1951), Mr. Arrogance (1960), and Refugee from Love (1967).

NEPEAN, [MARY] EDITH (5 Aug 1876 – 23 Mar 1960)
(née Bellis)
1910s – 1950s
Author of about three dozen romantic novels, often set in Wales. Titles include Gwyneth of the Welsh Hills (1917), Petals in the Wind (1922), Moonlight Madness (1926), Sweetheart of the Valley (1927), Fires of Longing (1940), Forbidden Rapture (1949), and Starlit Folly (1955).

NESBIT, E[DITH]. (15 Aug 1858 – 4 May 1924)
(married names Bland and Tucker)
1880s – 1920s
Children's writer and novelist, author of as many as 60 volumes of fiction in all. She is best known today for her children's fiction and her ghost and horror stories for adults, but she also wrote several novels for adults, including The Red House (1902), The Incomplete Amorist (1906), Daphne in Fitzroy Street (1909), the fantasy-themed Dormant (1911), The Incredible Honeymoon (1916), and The Lark (1922), the last a cheerful, humorous tale of two young women attempting to make a living on their own. Among her best-known children's works are a series about the Bastable family, including The Story of the Treasure Seekers (1899), The Wouldbegoods (1901), and The New Treasure Seekers (1904), the Psammead series, including Five Children and It (1902), The Phoenix and the Carpet (1904), and The Story of the Amulet (1906), and, perhaps most famously, The Railway Children (1906), which has been adapted multiple times for film and television. Among her ghost and horror stories are those contained in Something Wrong (1893), Grim Tales (1893), and Fear (1910). One of Nesbit's earliest novels, The Marden Mystery (1896), has become so rare that it's possible no copies survive. I reviewed The Lark
here and it has been reprinted as a Furrowed Middlebrow book from Dean Street Press.

NETHERSOLE, SUSIE COLYER (1869 – 21 May 1956)
1900s - 1930
Author of eight Mills & Boon titles, which appear to be romantic tales of country life—Mary Up at Gaffries and Letitia Her Friend (1909), Ripe Corn (1911), Wilsam (1913), The Game of the Tangled Web (1916), Take Joy Home (1919), And Pleasant, His Wife (1928), and Pounce, the Miller (1930). She also published a story collection, Time o' Lilacs, and Other Times (1922).

NEVILL, DOROTHY M[ARY]. (16 Sept 1912 - 1990)
(married name Alcock)
Author of a single book, Mrs. Moore's Mishaps and Other Humorous Short Stories (1933), compiled from her stories which first appeared in a local paper in Leek, Staffordshire. Nevill went on to a career in psychiatric nursing. [Thanks to David Alcock, Nevill's son, for sharing information about his mother.]

NEVILLE, MAY F[????]. (dates unknown)
1900s, 1920s – 1940s
Untraced author of numerous "newsprint novels," including A Soul's Bondage (1923), Love in a Lilac Lane (1936), Her Sister's Secret (1937), Her Wedding Day (1941), A Runaway Wife (1942), and Only the Governess (1943).

NEVIN, MAY (dates unknown)
(pseudonym of an unknown "Mrs. Canice Whyte")

Unidentified author of two novels—The Girls of Sunnyside (1933), about an Englishwoman inheriting an Irish homestead, and Over the Hills (1935). An article about her daughter's winning of a music exhibition provides the author's real name and that she and her husband were living in Dublin at the time, but it has so far not been possible to get further.

Newland, Jill
                   see COOPER, GWALDYS DOROTHY

NEWMAN, ANNA (dates unknown)
Untraced author of a single girls' school story, Jenny & Co. in the Haunted Wing (1949).

NEWMAN, MARJORIE W[INIFRED]. (13 Sept 1903 – 17 Sept 1983)
(uncertain but probable identification)
1920s – 1930s
Author of five girls' school stories, which Sims & Clare describe as "competent, if undistinguished." Titles are Scoring for the School (1929), Jean's Great Race (1929), Edna's Second Chance (1934), Sybil Makes Good (1936), and Jennifer Takes the Lead (1939).

NICHOLSON, C[ELIA]. A[NNA]. (19 Nov 1874 – 27 Sept 1936)
(née Levetus, aka Diana Forbes)
1910s – 1930s
Well known designer and illustrator before her marriage, and later the author of more than a dozen novels. Details of plot are difficult to trace, but it appears that The Dawn Fulfilled (1925) is a tragic tale of a brilliant neurologist, while Hell and the Duchess (1928) was described in an advertisement as a "glittering chain of intrigues and escapades, fantastic sins and consciencious scruples." The Bridge Is Love (1930), set in "aristocratic France," was praised by the Times Literary Supplement for Nicholson's "eye, even in tragic moments, for social comedy," and the Bookman called A Boswell to Her Cook (1931) "a haunting chronicle, clear as a bit of daily life, yet touched with a glamour indescribable." Other titles under her own name include Martin, Son of John (1918), Their Chosen People (1923), The Dancer's Cat (1925), and Wrath of the Shades (1933). She also published two novels under her pseudonym—The Man Behind the Tinted Glasses (1924) and Whose the Hand? (1925)—which appear to be thrillers.

Nicholson, Jane
          see STEEN, MARGUERITE

NICHOLSON, MARY (1906 – 22 Feb 1980)
(pseudonym of Ursula Frankau)
Granddaughter of Julia FRANKAU and sister of Pamela FRANKAU. Poet and author of three novels—Ask the Brave Soldier (1935), Horseman on Foot (1937), and These Were the Young (1938)—which received wildly mixed reviews and seem to have focused on social criticism of the wealthy and the status quo.

NICHOLSON, [ELEANOR] MARY [LLOYD] (11 Jan 1908 – 17 Feb 1995)
(née Crawford, aka L. E. Martin, aka Anne Finch, aka Mary Crawford)
1930s, 1950s
Biographer and author of six novels. Her two early novels—Sublunary (1932) and Turn Again (1934)—were published under her L. E. Martin pseudonym. Of the first, L. P. Hartley said that it "inspires the reader with mingled fear, admiration, and respect." In the 1950s, she published four more under the pseudonym Mary Crawford—Laugh or Cry (1951), Roses Are Red (1952), Itself to Please (1953), and No Bedtime Story (1958). Her Anne Finch pseudonym was used only for her Essay on Marriage (1946). She later co-wrote Dear Miss Weaver (1970), a biography of modernist publisher and journal editor Harriet Weaver. Nicholson's work is documented in some depth here.

NICHOLSON, [UNA] PHYLLIS (24 Nov 1897 – 27 Apr 1965)
(née Higgs)

Author of four books about country life—Norney Rough (1941), about life in Godalming, Surrey, Cornish Cream (1942), about a wartime holiday in Cornwall, Family Album (1943), and Country Bouquet (1947). These appear to be primarily memoirs, but allowing for a certain amount of fictionalization that usually creeps into such works, I'm including her here.

NICKALLS, ETHEL PATTESON (11 Nov 1867 – 5 Mar 1948)
Author of one poetry collection, Piper's Hill and Other Poems (1922), and one novel, The Challenge of Life (1927).

Nickson, Hila

Nicol, Clare
          see ADAIR, HAZEL (1920-2015)

NICOL, NORMA (dates unknown)
Untraced author of a single girls' school story, Her School Godmother (1921). A contemporary newspaper article says this is "the pen name adopted by a young North Shields lady possessed of considerable literary talent," and the same name appears on fashion journalism a few years later, but no clues as to her real identity.

NISOT, ELIZABETH [MAVIS] (Jul 1893 – 12 Apr 1973)
(née Hocking, aka William Penmare)
1920s – 1930s
Daughter of novelist Joseph Hocking and sister of Anne HOCKING and Joan Carew SHILL. Author of at least 10 mystery novels. Her first three books appeared under the Penmare pseudonym—The Black Swan (1928), The Man Who Could Stop War (1929), and The Scorpion (1929). Under her own name she published Alixe Derring (1933), Shortly Before Midnight (1934), Twelve to Dine (1935), Hazardous Holiday (1936), Extenuating Circumstances (1937), False Witness (1938), and Unnatural Deeds (1939).

NIXON, BARBARA [MARIAN] (16 Feb 1907 – 5 Jun 1983)
(married name Dobb)
Wife of Cambridge economist Maurice Dobb and actress in the Cambridge Festival Theatre. Nixon was an air raid warden during the Blitz and wrote dramatically of her experiences in Raiders Overhead (1943). She also wrote what appears to be a children's book, Jinnifer of London (1948), which qualifies her for this list.

NIXON, FLORENCE GWYNNE (20 Mar 1863 – 6 Aug 1946)
Author of more than a dozen novels, probably dime romances, including Foul Play (1931), Warned Off! (1932), He Never Backed a Winner (1932), The Eleventh Hour Lover (1932), The Owner's Counter-Plot (1935), Was He False? (1937), Always on a Loser (1938), and Romping Rory's Win (1939). She shows on census records as a author as early as 1901, so she may have published serials, stories, or fiction under other names.

NIXON, MARIAN E[SSLEY]. (28 Jan 1866 – 21 Feb 1945)
(née Tamlyn, earlier married name Essley)
Author of one poetry collection, Four Wishes and Other Poems (1931), and one novel, Martha (1933), the latter described by the Londonderry Sentinel as "full of events, sometimes mirthful and sometimes sad, always gripping." She appears to have emigrated to the U.S. and later to Canada.

NOAKES, KATHLEEN [MARY EMLYN] (21 Jan 1907 – 1999)
(married name Churcher)
1940s – 1950s

Author of six romantic novels—The Flame of Youth (1942), Lamps at Morning (1944), Adventure for April (1947), Uncertain Glory (1950), Winter Is Past (1950), and Brave Laughter (1954).

NOBLE, BARBARA [MARGARET] (6 Sept 1907 – 8 Feb 2001)
1930s – 1950s
Author of six novels—The Years That Take the Best Away (1930), The Wave Breaks (1932), Down by the Salley Gardens (1935), The House Opposite (1943), Doreen (1946, reprinted by Persephone), about a young evacuee in World War II, and Another Man's Life (1952). I reviewed The House Opposite, a powerful novel about a group of characters during the Blitz,
here, and it was reprinted as a Furrowed Middlebrow book from Dean Street Press in 2019. According to Persephone's bio of her, she worked for nearly 20 years for 20th Century Fox, followed by an equally long stint running the London office of Doubleday, "becoming one of the most esteemed figures in London publishing and presiding over a very happy all-women office."

Noel, Christopher
          see MOCATTA, FRANCES

NOKES, ETHEL (dates unknown)
1930s – 1950s
Author of more than 20 works for children, including three girls' school stories praised by Sims & Clare—The Fourth Form Gang (1932), The Fourth Form Gang Again (1935), and Sally of the Fourth Form Gang (1938). Other titles include Grace Give-Away (1931), Three Girls on Holiday (1932), The House of Many Pages (1934), The Girl Who Didn't Belong (1935), That Ass Neddy (1948), and Winking Windows (1954).

NOLAN, WINIFRIDE (12 Nov 1913 – 2 Jan 2011)
(née Bell)
1950s – 1960s

Author of several volumes of historical children's fiction and one novel for adults set in the present, The Flowing Tide (1957), about the farming life. Her children's fiction includes Rich Inheritance (1952), about a Catholic family in Elizabethan England, Exiles Come Home (1955), David and Jonathan: A Chronicle 1606-1623 (1958), about two Catholic boys growing up in the aftermath of the Gunpowder Plot, and The Night of the Wolf (1969), set in 1680s Wicklow. The New Invasion (1953) and Seven Fat Kine (1966) are described as autobiographical works.

          see CRAFTON SMITH, ADELE

Noose, Melita

NORLING, WINIFRED (19 Aug 1905 – 5 Nov 1979)
(pseudonym of Winifred Mary Jakobsson)
1930s – 1950s
Author of more than 30 children's titles, most of them girls' school stories, which Sims & Clare find implausible but never boring. Titles include Monica of St Monica's (1934), The Riddle of St Rolf's (1935), The Third's Thrilling Term (1936), Six Sinners at St Swithun's (1938), St Ann's on the Anvil (1947), and Pat of Perry's (1950).

NORMAN, MRS. GEORGE (4 Aug 1871 – 25 Dec 1967)
(pseudonym of Melesina Mary Blount, née Mackenzie)
1900s – 1920s
Author of nearly a dozen light romantic novels, including Delphine Caifrey (1911), The Silver Dress (1912), The Wonderful Adventure (1914), and The Town on the Hill (1927). Her sister Margaret Mackenzie was responsible for unearthing Daisy ASHFORD's The Young Visitors and helping to get it published.

NORMAN, SYLVA (1 Nov 1901 – 7 May 1971)
(pseudonym of Hermine Silva Nahabedian, married name Blunden)
1920s – 1930s, 1950s
Scholar (especially on Shelley), biographer, and novelist. Her debut, Nature Has No Tune (1929), was published by the Hogarth Press. Cat Without Substance (1931), about a family's misfortunes, was described as both a comedy and as influenced by Woolfish introspection. She then co-wrote a work with then-husband, poet and critic Edmund Blunden, called We'll Shift Our Ground, or Two on a Tour: Almost a Novel (1933). Nearly a quarter of a century later, she produced one final novel, Tongues of Angels (1957), a comedy set at an international congress in aid of culture. She also published a biography, Mary Shelley: Novelist and Dramatist (1938).

NORRIS, PHYLLIS IRENE (7 May 1909 – 27 Mar 2004)
1930s – 1950s
Cousin of Gwendoline COURTNEY and author of eight children's titles—The Mystery of the White Ties (1937), The Nasturtium Club (1939), The Duffer's Brigade (1939), The House of the Lady-Bird (1946), Meet the Kilburys (1947), The Cranstons at Sandly Bay (1949), The Polkerrin Mystery (1949), and The Harlands Go Hunting (1951).

NORTON, LENA (dates unknown)
Untraced author of two short romances—She Wanted to Shine (1931) and The Golden Bait (1931).

NORTON, [KATHLEEN] MARY (10 Dec 1903 – 29 Aug 1992)
(née Pearson)
1940s – 1980s
Children's author best known for her Borrowers series of children’s books (six volumes 1952-1982). Her early titles The Magic Bed-knob (1943) and Bonfires and Broomsticks (1947), about a spinster with magical powers, were the inspiration for Disney's Bedknobs and Broomsticks. Virago issued some of her other work as Bread and Butter Stories (1998).

NORTON, S. H. (1903 - ?c1982)
(pseudonym of Mary Kathleen Richardson)
Author of numerous biographies of religious figures and religious-themed books for younger children. She also wrote one school story, Annals of St Audrey's (1956), and another work of children's fiction, Odds and Ends (1959), about which I could find no details.

NOTT, KATHLEEN [CECILIA] (19 Feb 1905 – 20 Feb 1999)
1930s – 1940s, 1960s
known for her philosophical writings, Nott also published poetry and four novels—Mile End (1938), The Dry Deluge (1947), a work of science-fiction, Private Fires (1960), and An Elderly Retired Man (1963). A Clean Well-Lighted Place (1961) is a travel book about Sweden.

NOVY, PRISCILLA (1918 – 2 May 2012)
(pseudonym of Mary Lucy Novy, née Feare, later married name MacNamara)
Author of a single children's title, The Lincoln Imp (1948), as well as an earlier domestic guide, Housework Without Tears (1945).

NUGENT, MARGERY [CONSTANCE OTTLEY] (20 Dec 1884 – 10 Dec 1956)

Author of a single novel, Fenella (1942), about one day in a little girl's life on a well-to-do country estate before the wars. If it's based on Nugent's own childhood, it may well be set in Sowerby, Yorkshire, where her father was managing director of a woollen mill.

Nusrat, Princess
                   see MARC, ELIZABETH

O'BRIEN, DEIRDRE (22 Apr 1902 - ?1969)
(pseudonym of Mary Elizabeth McNally, née Ryan, aka D. V. O'Brien)
1930s – 1940s
Author of more than two dozen Mills & Boon romances, including Love Knows No Death (1931), Only My Dreams (1932), Wives Are Like That (1936), and Unwanted Wife (1939). She later published two girls' school stories, The Three at St Christopher's (1944) and New Girls at Lowmead (1945, with Grace COUCH). The death date shown is uncertain but probable.

O'BRIEN, EDNA (15 Dec 1930 -            )
(married name Gebler)
1960s – 2010s
Acclaimed Irish novelist, dramatist, screenwriter, and biographer, best known for her Country Girls trilogy—The Country Girls (1960), The Lonely Girl (1962), and Girls in Their Married Bliss (1964)—which was controversial in its exploration of sexuality and social issues. Other fiction includes Casualties of Peace (1966), A Pagan Place (1970), A Fanatic Heart (1984), The High Road (1988), Lantern Slides (1990), House of Splendid Isolation (1994), and In the Forest (2002). O'Brien published a memoir, Country Girl, in 2012.

O'BRIEN, KATE (KATHLEEN) [MARY LOUISE] (3 Dec 1897 – 13 Aug 1974)
1930s – 1960s
Playwright and novelist who often focused on gender, women struggling for independence, and female sexuality. She published nine novels in all. Her debut, Without My Cloak (1931), which traces three generations of one Irish family in the 19th century, won both the James Tait Black Prize and the Hawthornden Prize. The Anteroom (1934) is set during three days in 1880. Mary Lavelle (1936) deals with an Irish governess living in Spain in the 1920s, and That Lady (1947) has a historical Spanish setting. The Land of Spices (1941), according to Susan Vander Closter in British Novelists, 1930-1959, is "a slow-paced, graceful, and thoughtful examination of an intellect which makes a frightened escape into the austere but safe arms of the convent." The others are Pray for the Wanderer (1938), The Last of Summer (1943), The Flower of May (1953), and As Music and Splendour (1958). She also published two travel books—Farewell Spain (1937) and My Ireland (1962).

O'DONOGHUE, ELINOR MARY (25 Jun 1898 – 12 Jan 1961)
(aka Annabel Lee, aka E. M. Oddie)
1930s – 1940s
Author, under her Lee pseudonym, of more than 30 Mills & Boon romances, including Lumberjack Jill (1932), A Quixote Against His Will (1933), Blue Flax (1936), Triangle with a Difference (1938), Divorce without Drama (1940), and Wastrel with Wings (1941). As Oddie, she published three novels—April Folly (1928), Portrait and Original (1933), and The Slitting of Mr. Crispe's Nose (1940), as well as several biographies.

O'DONOVAN, JOAN [MARY] (31 Dec 1914 – 9 Feb 2014)
(née Knape)

1950s – 1960s, 1980s

Author of four novels and three story collections, which often received enthusiastic acclaim. The Visited (1959, aka A Singular Passion) deals with an unmarried woman in her 50s who becomes obsessed with marrying a shady fellow traveler on a tour of Ireland. The Middle Tree (1961), about a young teacher at an impoverished school and her flirtation with a Communist colleague and his ideas, presumably draws from O'Donovan's own experiences as a teacher before WWII (her son notes that she reported her profession as "writer" instead of "teacher" when she joined the WAAFs as teaching was a reserved profession and she wanted to escape it). She, Alas! (1965) focuses on a woman in her 50s who is publicly a widow though she never actually married the man she still mourns. And in Argument with an East Wind (1986), a woman of 60 reaches a turning point upon losing her job and her lover. Her story collections are Dangerous Worlds (1958), Shadows on the Wall (1960), and The Niceties of Life (1964). During and for a time after WWII, O'Donovan was in a relationship with Michael Francis O'Donovan, better known as author Frank O'Connor, and adopted his name. Later, she settled in Dordogne, France, and for some time provided a home and care for author David Garnett in his declining years. According to the author's son, among her unpublished work are an additional collection of stories assembled in the 1980s, a travel book focused on the Dordogne, and drafts and notes for an additional novel, The Prism, never completed. Many thanks to Oliver O'Donovan for his kind assistance and information about his mother.

O'FAOLAIN, EILEEN (1902 – 1988)
(née Gould)
1940s – 1960s
Wife of author Sean O'Faolain and mother of author Julia O'Faolain. Irish author of children's books, particularly known for fairy and fantasy stories and for retellings from Irish mythology. Titles include The Little Black Hen (1940), The King of the Cats (1941), Miss Pennyfeather and the Pooka (1942), The Children of Crooked Castle (1945), May Eve in Fairyland (1945), Miss Pennyfeather in the Springtime (1946), The Shadowy Man (1949), The White Rabbit's Road (1950), Irish Sagas and Folk-Tales (1954), High Sang the Sword (1959), and Children of the Salmon and Other Irish Folktales (1965).

O'FARRELL, KATHLEEN (1924 -         )
1940s – 1960s
Author of more than a dozen children's books, including
Silver Birches (1949), Polly of Primrose Hill (1956), All Because of Posy (1957), The Camerons Lead the Way (1957), Aunt Biddy Began It (1960), Number One, Victoria Terrace (1962), and Sally Anne Sees It Through (1967).

OAKLEY, DORIS (dates unknown)
Untraced author of nine dime romances, including The Ringleader (1922), The Girl in Brown (1924), Reckless Sadie (1925), The Spark (1925), A Daring Pair (1925), The Impossible Girl (1925), The Titled Tomboy (1925), The Amateur Widow (1928), and Friends in Love (1929).

OAKLEY, NANCY (dates unknown)
Author of two mystery novels with John Oakley—The Clevedon Case (1923) and The Lint House Mystery (1925). She could be the Annie Oakley née Rimmer (c1877-1949), but details are sketchy.

OCKLEY, G. T. (30 Jun 1874 – 6 Sept 1955)
(pseudonym of Grace Thompson, née Milligan)
Sculptor and author of three crime novels—The Man Under the Window (1935), The Tempestuous Wooer (1936), and The Devil on Board (1937)—about which little information seems to be available.

          see BARLTROP, MABEL

ODELL, CAROL [MAISRY] (23 Jul 1921 - 2013)
(née Foote, aka Gill Odell)
1950s – 1960s
Television screenwriter and presenter and author of numerous children's book, mostly for younger children, but her one Gill Odell book (co-authored with Traviss Gill), Mr. Ozzle of Withery Wood (1959), appears to be for older children, and perhaps Jimmy Hurley to the Rescue (1965) is as well.

Odell, Gill
          see ODELL, CAROL

Oertling, Christine

OGLE, L[OIS]. J[ENNET]. (16 May 1902 - 1998)
(married name Hoskyns-Abrahall)
Author of a single girls' school story, The School by the Sea (1958), unusual in that it is set in an African school and, according to Sims and Clare, treats the girls' various nationalities and traditions in an unpatronising, matter-of-fact way. She was the second wife of Clare ABRAHALL's divorced husband.

Ogumefu, M. L.
          see BAUMANN,

OHLSON, E[DITH]. E[MILIE]. (14 Jan 1865 - c1948)
1930s – 1940s
Author of a series of four first-person novels which follow their main character, Pippa, from school days to marriage, and which are praised by Sims & Clare. Titles are Pippa at Brighton (1937), Pippa in Switzerland (1938), Pippa at Home (1940), and Pippa and James (1943).

OLDMEADOW, KATHARINE LOUISE (10 Jun 1878 – 8 Jul 1963)
(aka Pamela Grant)
1910s – 1950s
Author of girls' school stories and other girls' fiction. According to Sims and Clare, her work is "far more varied than most of her contemporaries, and her books are most attractive, conveying a sense of optimism and happiness while never flinching from the ugliness of life." Titles include Madcap Judy (1919), Princess Charming (1923), Princess Elizabeth (1926), The Pimpernel Patrol (1927), Cheery Chums (1930), Schooldays of Prunella (1932), A Strange Adventure (1936), The Three Mary Anns (1948), Under the Mountain (1952), and The Fortunes of Jacky (1957). In the 1920s, she published three of her books pseudonymously.

Oliver, G. Kent
          see CARR, GERTRUDE KENT

OLIVER, JANE (12 Oct 1903 – 4 May 1970)
(pseudonym of Helen Christine Rees, née Easson Evans, aka Joan Blair [with Ann STAFFORD])
1930s – 1970s
Author of more than sixty novels, some historical in theme and some, written with Ann STAFFORD under the pseudonym Joan Blair, romantic. Titles published under her own name include Tomorrow's Woods (1932), Mine is the Kingdom (1937), The Hour of the Angel (1942), In No Strange Land (1944), Crown for a Prisoner (1953), and Queen Most Fair (1959). The Hour of the Angel is a Blitz novel, whose main character's husband is in the RAF. In No Strange Land appears to be primarily historical but perhaps ends with the war? Jenny Hartley in Millions Like Us says of it: "Sometimes it seems as though all roads must lead to war and even a novel starting in Biblical times finishes in the RAF." Oliver's concern for the RAF was personal—her husband, John Llewellyn Rhys, had been in the RAF and had been killed in 1940. She later initiated the literary prize bearing his name.

OLIVER, MARJORIE MARY (9 Oct 1899 – 3 Oct 1976)
(married name Turton)
1930s – 1960s
Co-author of three early pony stories with Eva DUCAT—The Ponies of Bunts (1933), Sea Ponies (1935), and Ponies and Caravans (1941)—then solo author of seven more children's books, most or all also concerned with horses. Those titles are Riding Days in Hook's Hollow (1944), Horseman's Island (1950), Land of Ponies (1951), A-Riding We Will Go (1951), Menace on the Moor (1960), Mystery at Merridown Mill (1962), and The Riddle of the Tired Pony (1964). On the 1939 England & Wales Register she is shown as running a riding school in Sussex with her farmer husband.

          see STRACHEY, DOROTHY

OLIVIER, EDITH [MAUD] (31 Dec 1872 – 10 May 1948)
1920s – 1930s
Author of five quirky, underrated novels. She began writing only in her fifties, following the deaths of her father and sister. The Love-Child (1927) presents the coming to life of the main character's childhood imaginary friend—still a playful child though the woman herself is middle-aged. The Seraphim Room (1932, published in the U.S. as Mr. Chilvester's Daughters), centers around the maniacally old-fashioned Mr. Chilvester, who refuses any and all changes and upgrades to his 18th century house, with tragic consequences. The other novels are As Far as Jane's Grandmother's (1929), The Triumphant Footman (1930), and Dwarf's Blood (1931). Olivier’s memoir, Without Knowing Mr. Walkley (1938), is also particularly memorable. She published one children's book, The Underground River (1928), and two biographies, The Eccentric Life of Alexander Cruden (1934), about the compiler of the biblical concordance, and Mary Magdalen (1935) (though the former is far more rigorously biographical than the latter). In World War I, Olivier had helped to organize the Women's Land Army, for which she was appointed MBE in 1920, though sadly she does not appeared to have written about those experiences. During World War II, however, Olivier published the somewhat autobiographical Night-Thoughts of a Country Landlady (1943), a short work about the elderly Emma Nightingale's experiences and thoughts about the war. More of Olivier's reflections on the war are included in From Her Journals, 1924-1948 (1989). She was a cousin of Sir Laurence Olivier, though her branch of the family apparently pronounced the "r". I've written about several of Olivier's books here.

OMAN, CAROLA [MARY ANIMA] (11 May 1897 – 11 Jun 1978)
(married name Lenanton, aka C. Lenanton)
1920s - 1940
Biographer, children's writer, and author of more than a dozen novels, some of them historical, four of them under her married name. Nothing to Report (1940) and Somewhere in England (1943) are cheerful comedies about an English village in wartime. Both were reprinted as Furrowed Middlebrow books from Dean Street Press in 2019. Three of her earlier novels—Mrs. Newdigate's Window (1927), The Holiday (1928), and Fair Stood the Wind (1930)—are also romantic comedies with contemporary settings. I've written about all of these here. Her other novels, all historical in theme, are Princess Amelia (1924), The Road Royal (1924), King Heart (1926), Crouchback (1929), Miss Barrett's Elopement (1929), Major Grant (1931), The Empress (1932), The Best of His Family (1933), and Over the Water (1935). She published several historical children's titles, as well as more than a dozen biographies, including books about Lord Nelson, Elizabeth of Bohemia, Walter Scott, David Garrick, and others. Her memoir is An Oxford Childhood (1976).

OPENSHAW, MARY (c1875 – 28 Sept 1928)
(married name Binstead)
1900s – 1920s
Author of eight novels, some historical and most partaking of melodramatic themes. Titles are The Loser Pays: A Story of the French Revolution (1908), The Cross of Honour (1910), Little Grey Girl (1913), Sunshine: The Story of a Pure Heart (1914), Afterthoughts (1915), Glory Everlasting: A Story of the Times (1917), Laughter Street, London (1920), and Madame Lucifer (1924).

ORANGE, URSULA [MARGUERITE DOROTHEA] (28 Sept 1909 – 14 Oct 1955)
(married name Tindall)
1930s – 1940s
Author of six novels. Begin Again (1936) is about the anticlimactic working and family lives of several young girls after their heady days at Oxford. To Sea in a Sieve (1937) is a comedy about unconventional young lovers. Tom Tiddler's Ground (1941, published in the U.S. as Ask Me No Questions) is probably her best work, a wartime tale of a young mother evacuated to the countryside, who snoops into village affairs. Company in the Evening (1944) is about a divorced mother making a living while sharing a flat with her drab widowed sister-in-law. Have Your Cake (1942) is also set during wartime, and Portrait of Adrian (1945) is described as a psychological drama. Orange dealt with severe depression, and sadly died by her own hand in 1955. Her daughter Gillian TINDALL wrote about her in her memoir Footprints in Paris (2009). She was also the sister-in-law of Monica TINDALL. I wrote about several of her books here, and Begin Again, Tom Tiddler's Ground, and Company in the Evening have been reprinted as Furrowed Middlebrow books by Dean Street Press.

ORIGO, IRIS [MARGARET] (15 Aug 1902 – 28 Jun 1988)
(née Cutting)
Biographer of prominent Italian figures and author of a single children's book, Giovanni and Jane (1950). Origo, married to an Italian, remained in Italy during World War II, helping refugee children and later escaped Allied prisoners of war, a time (1943-1944) covered by her diary, War in Val d'Orcia (1947). An additional volume of her diary appeared in 2017 as A Chill in the Air: An Italian War Diary 1939-1940. She also published a memoir, Images and Shadows: Part of a Life (1970).

ORME, EVE (4 Apr 1894 – 22 Oct 1983)
(pseudonym of Leila Isobel Williamson, née Lodwick, earlier married name Webster)
1940s – 1950s

Author of nine novels, including There's Something About a Soldier (1942) and First Light (1943), set during WWII, The Fruit of Action (1944), about an Englishwoman who marries a German just before World War I, Blind Mice (1946), Dual Reflection (1948), Shadows Path (1950), The Flowering Tree (1954), Closed Heart (1955), and The Unforgiving Past (1955). She co-wrote at least one play, and published Magic Mountain (1945), an account of a trip through the Himalayas with her husband, an officer in India. She suffered from arthritis and wrote two books about her experiences, My Fight Against Osteo-Arthritis (1955) and Reflections of an Arthritic (1956).

ORMISTON, MARGARET (14 May 1889 – 14 Apr 1983)
(pseudonym of Margaret Ormiston Curle)
Poet and author of two children's titles, Tancred the Hero and Other Fairy Tales (1920) and Kerdac the Wanderer (1924).

ORMSBY, [JOCELYN] IERNE (6 Jan 1883 – 12 Oct 1954)
(née Rainey)
Author of one girls' school story, Jane of the Crow's Nest (1936), an additional children's title, Wild West Sally (1939), and two volumes of poetry. She was born in Canada, but was living in England by age 12, so she's right on the borderline for inclusion in this list.

ORR, CHRISTINE [GRANT MILLAR] (1899 – 18 May 1963)
1910s – 1950s
Poet, playwright, and author of more than a dozen mostly Scottish-themed novels. The Glorious Thing (1919) is set in Scotland during World War I. The others are Kate Curlew (1922), The House of Joy (1926), Hogmanay (1928), The Marriage of Maida (1928), Artificial Silk (1929), The Price of Love (1929), The Gulf Between (1930), The Player King (1931), Immortal Memory: The Comedy of a Reputation (1933), Tattered Feather (1934), Hope Takes the High Road (1935), Flying Scotswoman (1936), Catriona M'Leod (1937), Gentle Eagle: A Life of King James IV of Scotland (1937), The Happy Woman (1947), You Can't Give Them Presents (1949), and Other People's Houses (1951).

Ortiz, Elisabeth Lambert
          see LAMBERT, ELISABETH

O'SHEA, PRUDENCE (12 Mar 1893 – 26 Jun 1982)
(pseudonym of Victoria Jessamine/Jasmine Chatterton, née Merchant)
1930s – 1940s
Literary agent and author of eight novels—Famine Alley (1930), Silver Mountains (1936), Warm Autumn (1937), Scandalous Interlude (1938), Free and Fortunate (1938), Paradise for the Porretts (1940), The Cygnets (1947), and Wine and Roses (1948).

OVERTON, JOHN (dates unknown)
(pseudonym of Kathleen Baker)
1910s – 1920s
Author of at least five novels, some or all of which were historical romances. Titles are Dickie Devon (1914), Hazard (1920), My Lady April (1921), The Beckoning Unknown (1924), and Striped Roses (1925). She wrote a few radio plays after that, then fell silent. John Herrington found that she lived in a suburb of Birmingham, and came across a 1922 newspaper article referring to her as "a little woman daintily dressed in a frock of crepe fabric, with a large rose-trimmed picture-hat" who had enjoyed amateur acting, but he could not trace her birth or death.

OWEN, JEAN ALLAN (1841 – 30 Jul 1922)
(née Pinder, later married name Visger)
1880s – 1910s
Author of Christian-themed fiction for children and adults. Titles include Ethel's Comforter (1880), Sea Blossom: A Cornish Story (1884), After Shipwreck (1889), West Dene Manor (1895), Love Covers All (1910), and Ruth Thornton, or, Two Girls and a Summer (1915).

(married name Venner)
Author of both fiction and non-fiction about career choices for girls. Her fiction is Sally Grayson: Wren (1954), Margaret Becomes a Doctor (1957), A Library Life for Deborah (1957), Sue Takes Up Physiotherapy (1958), and Diana Seton: Veterinary Student (1960).

OWSLEY, SIBYL BERTHA (10 Mar 1883 – 27 Mar 1968)
1910s – 1940s
Author of more than two dozen children's books, among them school stories for both boys and girls. Later titles tend to contain at least some Guiding content. Titles include Eardley House (1912), Skimpy and the Saint (1923), The Upper Third Twins (1926), Dulcie Captains the School (1928), A Madcap Brownie (1929), The School Knight-Errant (1934), and The Guides of North Cliff (1944).

OXENHAM, ELSIE (25 Nov 1880 – 9 Jan 1960)
(pseudonym of Elsie Jeanette Dunkerley)
1900s – 1950s
Prolific author of almost 90 titles for girls, including the "Abbey Girls" series, which centers around a group of schoolgirls and a romantic medieval abbey (modelled on Cleeve Abbey in Somerset), and various interwoven "connector" titles featuring some of the characters from the main series. The first Abbey title is Girls of the Hamlet Club (1914) and the last is Tomboys at the Abbey (1959). Her father was William Arthur Dunkerley, who published novels as John Oxenham. Her sister Erica DUNKERLEY also published several novels. The Elsie J. Oxenham Society has an informative website

Oxenham, Erica

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