Margaret Storm Jameson: A Life by Jennifer Birkett - review by Isabel Quigly

Isabel Quigly

‘I Am In Hell’

Margaret Storm Jameson: A Life


Oxford University Press 423pp £25

‘I’m awfully bored with my position as the invisible aunt of English letters,’ Margaret Storm Jameson wrote in 1955. It was a neat phrase to describe herself. True, she was a ‘name’ of sorts in the literary world from the Twenties to the Sixties (more or less), but never a central figure, never much admired either critically or popularly, although the picture of her on the jacket is taken from a Wills cigarette card in a series of ‘Famous British Authors’.

There has never been a biography. Not, perhaps, surprisingly. At the time of her death (well into her nineties) in 1986 she was almost forgotten as a novelist, autobiographer, campaigner and political activist; even her good works – and they were many (particularly on behalf of refugees from

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