|Margaret Drabble, the daughter of a barrister and an English teacher, grew up in a liberal, bookish household. Although she had three siblings, she remembers her childhood as isolated and lonely--as, oddly, does her elder sister, the novelist A. S. Byatt. She went to Cambridge on scholarship and studied English literature. She was married to the actor Clive Swift and worked as an actress herself, once understudying Vanessa Redgrave at the Royal Shakespeare Company. She gave up acting to have babies (three) and write novels, discovering that pregnancy inspired her best writing. Divorced in 1975, she subsequently married the biographer Michael Holroyd. She has written criticism, journalism, and screenplays as well as many novels, and she claims Arnold Bennett--with his middle-class values, sympathy with his non-elitist characters, and a Yorkshire upbringing similar to hers--as one of her major influences.
|Born in Kent, England to poor parents, H. G. Wells was apprenticed to a draper at age 14. Fired, he bounced from job to job, and at age 18 he went to college and became a pupil of scientist Thomas Henry Huxley, the greatest influence on his life. After two troubled marriages, Wells began publishing his novels and grew very wealthy; his first novel, THE TIME MACHINE, was followed by approximately a book a year. He was described by his paramour Rebecca West as "practically off his head, enormously vain, irascible, and in a fantasy world." He died in 1946, one month from his 80th birthday. His influence on other authors is incalculable.