A conflicted feminist, the children’s writer E Nesbit threw away her corsets, cut her hair short and took up smoking. She defied convention.

Yet she once delivered an uncharacteristic speech so vehemently opposed to women’s rights that it was supressed by George Bernard Shaw, who was one of her many lovers.

Her biographer, Eleanor Fitzsimons, will be in conversation with Celia Brayfield at the Bull Ballroom on 5 November.

The Lives and Loves of E. Nesbit is the first major biography of the much-loved children’s author in 30 years. It casts new light on a remarkable and unconventional life story.

Nesbit’s wonderfully imaginative and original books are loved by millions and influenced many bestselling authors including JK Rowling, Jacqueline Wilson, CS Lewis, PL Travers, Francesca Simon, Neil Gaiman, Kate Saunders and Julia Donaldson.

Celia says: ‘It’s an immensely interesting story. She’s not at all what you would expect of a writer for children.  Eleanor Fitzsimons has used Nesbit’s letters and deep archival research to shed new light on a beloved literary icon.’

The Washington Post describes the biography as ‘informative and entertaining’ and reminds us that J K  Rowling once said ‘I identify with E. Nesbit more than any other writer.’ The ultrasophisticated Noel Coward so loved Nesbit’s books that he was apparently rereading The Enchanted Castle on his deathbed. Biographer Antonia Fraser called it ‘the best horror story ever written’.