Isobel English


Isobel English at the time of her marriage to Neville Braybrooke

Isobel English, born June Jolliffe in 1920, was the daughter of a Welsh businessman and a ‘strong-willed, striking’ Australian singer. As a child, she was ill and went to France to recuperate; later she attended a convent boarding school, was presented at Court, worked as a secretary, and was tutored in English literature before marrying Ronald Orr-Ewing, a young civil servant. Her daughter was born in 1942; meanwhile she began writing short stories and, with her husband’s advice and encouragement (which continued after their divorce), under the pseudonym of Isobel English wrote three novels between 1954 and 1960 including Every Eye in 1956. By now a convert to Catholicism, in 1953 she married the writer Neville Braybrooke and lived a literary life in London with friends such as Stevie Smith, Muriel Spark and Olivia Manning. Her short stories Life After All (1973) won the Katherine Mansfield Prize. She died in 1994.

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