Sunday, 24 April 2011

Monica Dickens

Monica Enid Dickens was born 10 May 1915,a great granddaughter of Charles Dickens, she was the daughter of barrister of law, Henry Dickens and Fanny Runge. Prior to attending Drama School she was expelled from St Paul's Girl School for throwing her school uniform over Hammersmith Bridge.

Despite the fact that Monica was a debutante, she was presented at court in 1935, she went into service as a cook-general. But a chance meeting with a publisher led to her first book being written in just 6 weeks, One Pair of Hands, a story of life below stairs, which has been in print since 1939.

Her first novel, Mariana followed shortly in 1940. Monica Dickens continued to draw on her own working experiences, eg. her experiences as a wartime nurse lead to One Pair of Feet.

In 1951 Monica married Roy Stratton, a US Navy officer, and went to live in the USA, they eventually settled in Cape Cod, where they lived with their two adopted daughters Prudence and Pamela, until Roy's death in 1985.

Monica Dickens was a committed Samaritan and in 1974 she founded The Samaritans in the USA, first opening a branch in Boston in 1974. Her novel The Listeners was based on her knowledge of The Samaritans.

As well as her books, Monica also wrote a column for Woman's Own for 20 years and during the 40's reviewed books for the Sunday Chronicle. She was one of the best selling novelists of her generation and highly respected, JB Priestly wrote, "Monica Dickens gets better and better" and John Betjeman said she was a novelist who had "All the airs and graces a reader could wish for".
She also wrote children's books.

Monica Dickens was very close to her family who often visited her in the USA, she loved reading, ballet, horses, cats and dogs and people. In 1985, after the death of her husband she returned to England. Monica Dickens died in Reading on Christmas Day 1992.

Adult Books

One Pair Of Hands (1939)
Mariana (1940)
One Pair Of Feet (1942)
The Fancy (1943)
Thursday Afternoons (1945)
The Happy Prisoner (1946)
Your's Sincerly (1947).
Joy and Josephine (1948)
Flowers on the Grass (1949)
My Turn To Make The Tea (1951)
No More Meadows (1953)
The Winds of Heaven (1955)
The Angel in the Corner (1956)
Man Overboard (1958)
The Heart of London (1961)
Cobbler's Dream (1963) (republished in 1995 as New Arrival at Follyfoot)
The Room Upstairs (1964)
Kate and Emma (1965)
The Landlord's Daughter (1968)
The Listeners (1970)
Talking of Horses (1973)
Last Year When I Was Young (1974)
An Open Book
A Celebration (1984)
A View From The Seesaw (1986)
Dear Doctor Lily (1988)
Enchantment (1989)
Closed at Dusk (1990)
Scarred (1991)
One of the Family (1993)

Children's Books

The World's End Series

The House at World's End (1970)
Summer at World's End (1971)
World's End in Winter (1972)
Spring Comes to World's End (1973)

The Follyfoot series

Follyfoot (1971)
Dora at Follyfoot (1972)
The Horses of Follyfoot (1975)
Stranger at Follyfoot (1976)

The Messenger series

The Messenger (1985)
Ballad of Favour (1985)
Cry of a Seagull (1986)
The Haunting of Bellamy 4 (1986) Non-series:
The Great Escape (1975)

1 comment:

  1. I didn't know any of this. Thank you... You are definitely school in the art of classic reading.