Penelope Mortimer was born in 1918 in Rhyl. At nineteen, she married a Reuters correspondent and had two daughters with him, as well as two more from other relationships. Her first novel, Johanna, was published in 1947. She re-married two years later, to John Mortimer, the barrister and author of the Rumpole novels; they had two children together and later divorced. Mortimer wrote many books, including The Pumpkin Eater (1962), which was adapted for the screen by Harold Pinter and made into a film starring Anne Bancroft and Peter Finch. Penelope Mortimer died in 1999.