Irwin, Margaret (writer)

Reference: MS 5464 & MS 5572Date: c.1900-1960sExtent: c.9 boxes

Margaret Emma Faith Irwin (27 March 1889 – 11 December 1967) was an English historical novelist.

Irwin was born in Highgate Hill, London, in 1889 but both her parents died while she was still young and she was brought up by her uncle Sidney Thomas Irwin, a master of Classics at Clifton College, then a boy’s school. Irwin attended the nearby Clifton High School, a girls’ school, in Bristol, after her parents died, and continued her education at Oxford University, studying English. She began writing books and short stories in the early 1920s. She married children’s author and illustrator John Robert Monsell in 1929, and he created some of the covers for her books.

Her novels were praised for the accuracy of their historical research, and she became a noted authority on the Elizabethan and early Stuart era.  One of her novels, Young Bess (1944), about the early years of Queen Elizabeth 1, was made into a film starring Jean Simmonds.

Irwin wrote a factual biography of Sir Walter Raleigh, That Great Lucifer: A Portrait of Sir Walter Raleigh, (1960) and several ghost stories (including “The Book” and “The Earlier Service“). Irwin also wrote two fantasy novels: Still She Wished for Company about a magical timeslip, while These Mortals is an adult fairy-tale about a wizard’s daughter.

The collection includes diaries, research notes, drafts of publications including handwritten and typed manuscripts for That Great Lucifer: A Portrait of Sir Walter Raleigh, correspondence and drafts of presentations

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