Jane Hawking is an English teacher and author. She is best known as the ex-wife of popular physicist and cosmologist Stephen Hawking. She was married to Hawking for 30 years, during which she doubled up as his caretaker. Jane Hawking took good care of Stephen Hawking despite struggling from depression, for which she is much-respected in the scientific community.
Essayist, biographer, lexicographer, and literary critic Samuel Johnson, or Dr. Johnson, is remembered for his A Dictionary of the English Language and Lives of the Most Eminent English Poets. He was also a poet, a playwright, and a staunch Tory. His mannerisms indicated he had Tourette syndrome.
Apart from being a traveler and a mountaineer, Anne Lister was also known as the world’s "first modern lesbian". Nicknamed Gentleman Jack for her androgynous fashion, which almost always included the color black, she penned diaries that contained many secret codes that were deciphered much after her death.
Mary Soames was a British author and the youngest child of Winston Churchill and Clementine. From 1939 to 1941, Soames worked for several public organizations, such as the Women's Voluntary Service and Red Cross. She then joined the Auxiliary Territorial Service. In 1945, she was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE), in recognition of meritorious military services.
George Lascelles, the 7th Earl of Harewood, was one of those British royalty members who gained more fame for their work than for their lineage. An art and music lover, he headed the English National Opera. An avid football fan, too, he was also the Leeds United president.
Indian-born British author Anna Leonowens is best remembered for her memoir The English Governess at the Siamese Court, which related her experience as a governess of the children of King Mongkut of Siam. The musical The King and I and the novel Anna and the King of Siam were inspired by her life.
Born to the 2nd Baron Redesdale, Nancy Mitford and her siblings were all homeschooled. Known as one of the brightest of the Mitford sisters, she became famous for writing semi-autobiographical novels such as The Pursuit of Love. She pioneered the use of language to distinguish between social classes in books.
Deborah Cavendish, the duchess of Devonshire, was the youngest of the popular Mitford sisters. An aristocrat and a socialite, she was one of the rare people who had met both Adolf Hitler and John Kennedy. She played a key role in commercializing Chatsworth Estate and also wrote books on it.
English author Margaret Drabble mostly writes about women protagonists and their experiences through marriage, motherhood, and intellectual development. Her novels such as The Gates of Ivory and A Summer Bird-Cage have earned her honors such as the DBE. She is the younger sister of novelist A.S. Byatt.
Better known as legendary author Oscar Wilde’s grandson, Merlin Holland is also a renowned biographer and journalist. His research on his grandfather has resulted in numerous collections such as The Complete Letters of Oscar Wilde. He has also worked as a wine writer and a features writer.
English author and critic Peter Ackroyd is mostly known for his novels that depict the history of London. The Cambridge and Yale alumnus had initially worked at The Spectator. Apart from writing award-winning novels such as Hawksmoor, he has also penned biographies of T.S. Eliot and Dickens, among others.
One of the greatest statisticians of all time, Karl Pearson established the first university-level statistics department at UCL and also launched the statistics-oriented journal Biometrika. He was also well-versed in law and believed in eugenics. His The Grammar of Science later inspired Albert Einstein and other scientists.
One of the greatest biographers of the 17th century, Izaak Walton was also a lover of fishing and had penned one of the most detailed treatises on fishing, The Compleat Angler. His notable works also include his biographies on John Donne and Henry Wotton. He was also a staunch Royalist.
Known for her persistent researches on some of history’s most reviled characters, Gitta Sereny was an investigative journalist and author of five biographical works that attempted to make sense of their crimes. Notable among her works are Albert Speer: His Battle with Truth and The Case of Mary Bell: A Portrait of a Child Who Murdered.
English biographer Lytton Strachey is best remembered for his masterpiece Eminent Victorians, which looks at the lives of Victorian figures such as Florence Nightingale and Thomas Arnold, using tools such as irony and paradox. He had also penned an award-winning biography of Queen Victoria. His short biographies discarded irrelevant details.
Part of the English football team that won the 1966 World Cup, George Cohen is a former football right-back who has played for Fulham for over a decade. He has also had a 14-year struggle with cancer, which he eventually won. He’s the uncle of English rugby player Ben Cohen.
Though a qualified doctor, Samuel Smiles later never practiced and switched to journalism instead, working for Leeds Times. His best-known work remains Self-Help, a motivational self-improvement guide for the youth, which denounced materialism and advocated thrift. His other significant work was the 5-volume Lives of the Engineers.
Essayist Thomas De Quincey is best remembered for his iconic book Confessions of an English Opium-Eater, which initially appeared in the London Magazine. The work was an autobiographical account of his own addiction to opium, which he had begun consuming to help him deal with the pain of his facial neuralgia.
Chiefly known as a novelist, biographer, and memoirist, Edward Frederic Benson began his career with the British School of Archaeology in Athens, publishing his first successful novel, Dodo: A Detail of the Day, during this period. Its popularity encouraged him to continue publishing, the most significant works among them being Mapp and Lucia series, and the biography of Queen Victoria.
English author and freelance critic Margaret Forster is best remembered for her bestselling novel Georgy Girl, which was made into a film later. She also penned biographies and contributed to BBC Radio 4 programs. She had also been a Booker Prize judge but mostly remained away from book-signing events.
Sir Leslie Stephen was an English historian, biographer, author, critic, and mountaineer. Leslie Stephen also took an active part in the organized humanist movement, serving as the president of the West London Ethical Society on multiple occasions. He was the father of famous author, Virginia Woolf, and painter, Vanessa Bell.
English Poet Laureate Andrew Motion, the first laureate to serve a fixed term, is best known for his narrative poetry and works such as The Pleasure Steamers. He has also penned biographies of John Keats and the Lambert family members. He has also been knighted for his achievements.
Ethel Smyth was an English composer whose compositions include songs, chamber music, works for piano, orchestral works, operas, and choral works. She was the first female composer to be granted a damehood. Ethel Smyth was also involved in the women's suffrage movement and is credited with composing The March of the Women, which became the anthem of the movement.
Costa Book Award-winning Anglo-Welsh journalist Penelope Mortimer is best remembered for her iconic novel The Pumpkin Eater, which was later made into a film. An expert in writing feminist fiction, her works included plots of broken marriages. Her father, a clergyman, had apparently sexually abused her in childhood.
Historian Robert Lacey has soared to fame with his biographies such as Majesty, which chronicled the life of Queen Elizabeth II. He has also been a historical consultant for the Netflix series The Crown. He has penned the history of Saudi Arabia and has also stayed in Jeddah for a while.
Best known for The Irish Times column An Irishman's Diary, journalist Kevin Myers was accused of misogyny after his controversial comment that stated equal pay was to be “earned.” He has reported from places such as Africa, Central America, and India, and penned books such as Watching the Door.
Born to actor Robert Morley, Sheridan Morley was named after a character his father played. He started as a BBC broadcaster and then worked with Punch and The Spectator, as a drama critic. He had also penned biographies of personalities such as Audrey Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe.
James Anthony Froude was an English novelist, biographer, and historian. He also contributed as an editor for Fraser's Magazine for Town and Country. Froude was often counted among the best-known historians of his time. A controversial personality, Froude's writings were often polemical which earned him many outspoken opponents.
Lord David Cecil was a British biographer, scholar, and historian. He also served as a professor, teaching at universities like the University of Oxford. While working at New College, Cecil taught Kingsley Amis and John Bayley, who would go on to become respected writers themselves. Cecil is also credited with mentoring personalities like R. K. Sinha and Bidhu Bhusan Das.
Edward John Trelawny was a British biographer, novelist and adventurer. He is famous for his friendship with Percy Bysshe Shelley and Lord Byron. Handsome and dashing, he joined the Royal Navy at the age of thirteen, later writing about his experiences in Adventures of a Younger Son. His other well-known work is Recollections of the Last Days of Shelley and Byron.
Aminatta Forna is a writer whose novel The Memory of Love won the Commonwealth Writers' Prize in 2011. Forna was also honored with the prestigious Windham–Campbell Literature Prize in 2014. She also teaches creative writing at many universities and supports several young and aspiring writers. In the 2017 New Year Honours, Forna was appointed OBE for services to literature.
Mary Anne Clarke was Prince Frederick's mistress. Her memoirs, which documented her relationship with Prince Frederick, were published in 1809. Her life and career inspired the famous novel Mary Anne which was written by her great-great granddaughter Daphne du Maurier.
Michael Holroyd is an English biographer whose two-volume work on the life of Lytton Strachey inspired the screenplay for the British biographical film Carrington. Over the course of his career, Holroyd has won several awards like the Heywood Hill Literary Prize, David Cohen Prize for literature, and Golden PEN Award. He was knighted in 2007 for services to English Literature.
Humphrey Carpenter was an English writer, biographer, and radio broadcaster whose work Charles Williams and their Friends won the 1978 Somerset Maugham Award. Carpenter was also a musician who played the piano, double-bass, and saxophone. In 1983, Humphrey Carpenter formed a band called Vile Bodies. He also founded a children's drama group called the Mushy Pea Theatre Group.
The eldest son of Romantic poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Hartley Coleridge grew up spending most of his time reading and was closely associated with poets Robert Southey and William Wordworth. Though he gained a fellowship at Oriel, he later lost it due to his alcoholism and his inconsistency.
George Cavendish was an English writer best remembered for his biography of Cardinal Thomas Wolsey. Apart from describing in detail Thomas Wolsey's life, his biography Thomas Wolsey, Late Cardinall, his Lyffe and Deathe also describes the political events of the 1520s and early sixteenth-century court life.
John Forster was an English critic and biographer who contributed to prominent publications like The Examiner, The Morning Chronicle, and The True Sun. He also contributed as an editor for the Foreign Quarterly Review and the Examiner. As he was a close friend of Charles Dickens, Forster's life is often covered extensively in the biographies of Charles Dickens.