Ann Schlee was brought up in America and spent parts of her childhood and youth in Egypt, Sudan and Eritrea - a peripatetic existence that was reflected in several of her novels
Schlee wrote the first of her ten novels aged 37 and her last at 64, in 1998. Why she stopped writing is something of a mystery since her fiction, often set in Victorian times, was highly regarded - she was Booker Prize shortlisted in 1981 for Rhine Journey and she won the Guardian Award for a book for children or young adults in 1980 with her science-fiction tale The Vandal. Most of Schlee’s books are now out of print, although The Vandal was deservedly brought out of mothballs in 2012. She was also a Booker Prize judge in 1991. She died in November 2023.