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Winifred Watson was born in 1907 and brought up in Newcastle, where her father owned three shops. Educated at St Ronan’s School, Berwick-on-Tweed, she was a secretary until, in 1935, aged 28, she married Leslie Pickering, the manager of a timber firm. She wrote Fell Top in 1935 and Odd Shoes a year later, ‘two rather strong dramas… but when they received a book that was fun – Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day  – they would not accept it…I can remember to this day looking up at the publisher and saying, ‘You are wrong, Miss Pettigrew is a winner.’ But he just looked stubborn. I wrote another straight novel [Upyonder, 1938] and, when they did publish Miss Pettigrew, I was proved right… France published it, Australia, and even Germany was about to only the war came.’ Winifred Watson published two more novels, but stopped writing not long after the birth of her son in 1941. She lived in Newcastle for the rest of her life and died there in 2002.