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Anna Gmeyner in the 1930s when she was writing Manja.
Anna Gmeyner (1902-91) was brought up in Vienna, where her father was a lawyer. In 1924 she married a young biologist and went with him and her baby daughter Eva to Edinburgh where her husband had a research post; here she wrote a play based on the Scottish miners’ strike of 1926. After she and her husband separated she went to Berlin, where the play was produced to excellent reviews and, by now very much part of the cultural life of Berlin, she continued to write plays. When Hitler came to power in 1933 she was in Paris working in film production; here she married Jascha Morduch, a Russian philosopher, and moved with him to London. Manjawas written in 1938, a period of her life that would be evoked in her daughter, Eva Ibbotson’s, novel The Morning Gift in 1993. During the war years Anna Gmeyner lived in Berkshire, wrote another novel and worked on films with the Boulting Brothers. Later she lived in York.