Radclyffe Hall (August 12, 1880 – October 7, 1943), British novelist and poet, is remembered as the author of groundbreaking lesbian literature. Her most enduring work is the controversial 1928 novel The Well of Loneliness. Hall’s struggles with love and identity worked their way into her fiction and contributed to a complicated, often unhappy life.
Born in Bournemouth, Hampshire, Marguerite Radclyffe Hall’s father was a wealthy Englishman with the unusual moniker Radclyffe Radclyffe-Hall, and her mother, Mary Jane Diehl, was American. Her parents’ marriage fell apart when she was quite young due to her father’s continuous philandering and her mother’s mental instability. Her mother’s remarriage to a professor of singing was also fraught with conflict, and young Marguerite was largely ignored. Read More→
Natalie Babbitt (July 28, 1932 – October 31, 2016) was an American author and illustrator of children’s books, best known for Tuck Everlasting (1975). Born in Dayton, Ohio, her first ambition was to be a pirate. By second grade, she decided that wanted to grow up to be a librarian.
She discussed her aspirations in Anita Silvey’s The Essential Guide to Children’s Books and Their Creators: “I might have made a pretty good librarian, but with my distaste for heavy exercise, I would probably have made a poor pirate.”
Below-deck or in the stacks, she would have found quiet moments to scribble stories and draw pictures. As an author, she wrote stories about mermaids who swim in the sea, and immortality. As an illustrator, she drew children who hold storybooks close to their hearts.
Doris Lessing, (October 22, 1919 – November 17, 2013) was a British novelist, playwright, poet, short story writer, and biographer. One of the most revered voices in modern literature, she has written intelligently and passionately about politics, parenting, aging, love relationships, and feminism.
She was born Doris May Tayler in what was then Persia (present-day Iran) to British parents, Captain Alfred Tayler and Emily Maude Tayler. When she was five, her parents moved with her to Rhodesia (what is now Zimbabwe) to farm crops on one thousand acres of land. Observing the strife caused by the British in their colonial rule of the African nation, she developed a strong moral and political compass. Read More→
Natalie Clifford Barney (October 31, 1876 – February 2, 1972) was an American-born writer of poems, epigrams, pensées and novels. She made her home in Paris, where she was known more for her literary salon and her colorful personal life than her writing, despite publishing ten critically acclaimed books in her lifetime.
She was “the wild girl of Cincinnati,” the grande dame of the literary salon and Parisian lesbian circles, and used her considerable wealth and influence to promote talented writers and artists from around the world. Read More→