♦ English novelist
Born in London, she trained at RADA and worked as an actress, journalist and teacher before turning to writing full-time in 1971. She was widely acclaimed for the novel The L-Shaped Room (1960, filmed 1962), which brought a female perspective to the trend for novels dealing with young working- and lower-middle-class people coming to terms with sexuality and family life in a grim post-war Great Britain. The Backward Shadow (1970) and Two Is Lonely (1974) complete the trilogy. In addition to many novels, she has also published plays, biographical fiction and children's books, most notably The Indian in the Cupboard (1980, filmed 1995), the first of a popular series, and Harry the Poisonous Centipede (1996), the first of her "Stories to Make You Squirm". More recent books for older children include The Dungeon (2002), set in medieval Scotland and China, and Tiger, Tiger (2004), set in ancient Rome.