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Summary Article: Dickens, Monica (Enid)
from The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide

English writer. Her first books were humorous accounts of her experiences in various jobs, beginning as a cook (One Pair of Hands, 1939); she went on to become a novelist. She was a great-granddaughter of Charles Dickens.

Her first novel, Mariana, was published in 1940. In the early years of World War II she worked as a hospital nurse and then later as a fitter in a factory producing aircraft spare parts. Her experiences again provided material for her next books, One Pair of Feet (1942), The Fancy (1943), and Thursday Afternoons (1945), the latter two attracting much praise. A close friend of the Samaritans' founder, Chad Varah, she founded the Samaritans in the USA.

Life and early work Dickens was born in London and went to St Paul's School for Girls, from which she was expelled for dropping her school uniform into the Thames from Hammersmith Bridge. She spent some time at drama school but otherwise had no formal qualifications. She worked first as a cook in wealthy households, and the book she wrote about her experiences, One Pair of Hands, took her a mere six weeks to write. In 1951 she married an American and settled in the USA until his death in 1985, when she returned to England.

Later work As a journalist she wrote for the magazine Woman's Own every week for 20 years, and for a while was a reviewer for the Sunday Chronicle. She tried her hand at writing for children and produced, among others, The House at World's End (1970), Summer at World's End (1971), Follyfoot (1971), and Spring Comes to World's End (1972). Novels continued to appear, and include The Listeners (1970), based on what she knew about the Samaritans, Enchantment (1989), Closed at Dusk (1990), and Scarred (1991). Her last novel, One of the Family was published posthumously in 1993.

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