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Penelope Mortimer, née Fletcher, the daughter of a vicar, was born in 1919 and went to seven schools in seven years. After secretarial and journalism courses she married the Reuters journalist, Charles Dimont, when she was 19; she had four daughters, two by two different lovers. In 1947 her first novel appeared and she began writing for The New Yorker, as well as being a newspaper agony aunt. In 1949 she became the wife of the young writer and barrister John Mortimer; another daughter and a son were born, and the Mortimers became known as a fashionable and radical London couple. In 1958 Daddy’s Gone A-Hunting, Penelope Mortimer’s fourth book, was published and The Pumpkin Eater, which was made into a film, came out in 1962. She wrote two more novels, two volumes of memoirs, short stories and an unconventional life of the Queen Mother; and was the Observer‘s film critic. After her 1971 divorce she became a devoted gardener. She died in 1999.
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