Margaret Drabble was born in Sheffield in 1939 and was educated at a Quaker boarding school in York, and then at Newnham College, Cambridge. In 1980 she was awarded the CBE. She has written several highly acclaimed novels, most recently The Sea Lady (Fig Tree, 2006). She has also written biographies, screenplays and is the editor of The Oxford Companion to English Literature. She is married to the biographer Michael Holroyd and lives in London.