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Elizabeth Myers, author of A Well Full of Leaves
Elizabeth Myers, of Irish descent, was born in 1912 and brought up in Ancoats, the industrial suburb of Manchester; her father was a violent alcoholic, her mother brave and kind. At Notre Dame High School in Manchester, to which she won a scholarship, she was encouraged to write. But her father made her leave school and begin working as a secretary; she also attended university lectures on literature. In 1931 she and her mother and sister moved to London, here she worked as a secretary in Fleet Street and wrote two (rejected) novels. Diagnosed with tuberculosis, she spent 1938 in a sanatorium. That year a short story she wrote led to friendship with Eleanor Farjeon, who lived in Hampstead, and in 1940 ‘Betty’, and her mother and sister, settled in a flat nearby. But in 1943 she met and married the scholar and schoolmaster Littleton Powys and went to live in Sherborne. This was the year A Well Full of Leaveswas published, to both rapturous and critical reviews; it sold well and was reprinted several times, in 1947 as a Penguin. Elizabeth Myers died of tuberculosis aged 35.