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English novelist Dora Jessie Saint, aka Miss Read (1913-2012)


Obituary: English novelist Dora Jessie Saint, aka Miss Read (1913-2012)

Dora Jessie Saint, the English novelist who wrote under the pseudonym Miss Read, has died at the age of 98. She was best known for writing ‘homely’ and nostalgic stories about English country life, centred around the fictional villages of Fairacre and Thrush Green.

Born in 1913, Dora Jessie Saint was a schoolteacher by profession until she started writing shortly after the Second World War. Taking the pseudonym Miss Read, based on her mother’s surname, she wrote her first novel Village School for release in 1955 and followed it with Village Diary two years later. She would go on to write more than 20 novels before retiring following 1996′s A Peaceful Retirement.

The Miss Read books never really changed much over the years and so became increasingly out of step with the times. But they remained hugely popular among a core constituency of readers, and in 1998 Dora Jessie Saint was made an OBE in recognition of her literary work. Her work has been compared to the likes of Jane Austen and Barbara Pym, and she is said to have influenced a number of other writers, including the US novelist Jan Karon.

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