Emma Smith


Emma Smith writing The Far Cry in Paris, photograph by Robert Doisneau

Emma Smith was born in Cornwall in 1923 and was privately educated. In 1939 she took her first job in the Records Department of the War Office before volunteering for work on the canals; this gave her the material for Maiden’s Trip (1948), which won the John Llewellyn Rhys Memorial Prize. She spent the winter of 1946-7 with a documentary film unit in India and then lived in Paris and wrote The Far Cry (1949), awarded the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for the best novel of the year in English. In 1951 Emma Smith married and had two children. After her husband’s death in 1957 she went to live in rural Wales; she then published very successful children’s books, short stories (one of which was runner-up in the 1951 Observer short story competition that launched the winner, Muriel Spark, on her career) and, in 1978, her novel The Opportunity of a Lifetime. Since 1980 she has lived in Putney in south-west London.

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