Born in Sydney, Madeleine St John graduated from Sydney University and lived most of her life in London. She was the author of four novels.
The first, The Women in Black, is a comedy of manners set in a department store in her native Sydney during the 1950s. In 2018 the book was republished as Ladies in Black. Her other three are a kind of trilogy based in London’s Notting Hill, where she lived. Her third novel, The Essence of the Thing, was shortlisted for the 1997 Booker Prize.