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Norah ‘Ella’ Houltwas born in Dublin in 1898. Her mother, Margaret O’Shaughnessy, was a spirited Irish-Catholic girl who eloped with a Protestant English architect named Powis Hoult when she was 21. After Norah and her brother were orphaned they were sent to live with their father’s relations in England, where they went to school. Norah Hoult was a journalist for theSheffield Daily Telegraphand then moved to London to work on a magazine, becoming a full-time writer after her first book,Poor Women(1928), was published. She lived in Dublin from 1931-7 (and was briefly married to a quantity surveyor) and then in New York; in 1939 she settled in London, living in Bayswater, not far from Violet Hunt upon whom Claire Temple inThere Were No Windows (1944) is modelled. Between 1928 and 1972 she published twenty-five books; in 1957 she returned to live in Ireland, and died there in 1984.
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