Penelope Lively was born in Cairo, Egypt and spent her childhood there. She came to England at the age of twelve, in 1945, and went to boarding school in Sussex. She went on to read Modern History at St Anne's College, Oxford. In 1957 she married Jack Lively (who died in 1998). They had two children, Josephine and Adam. Jack Lively's academic career took the family from Swansea to Sussex and Oxford, and eventually to Warwick University, where he was Professor of Politics. Penelope Lively now has six grandchildren and lives in London.