Phyllis Bentley (1894-1977)
Phyllis Bentley, the popular novelist of Yorkshire life, was born in Halifax on 19 November 1894, the youngest child of a mill owner.
She was educated at Halifax High School for Girls and Cheltenham Ladies' College. During the first world war she worked in the munitions industry. After the war, she returned to her native Halifax where she taught English and Latin.
In 1918 she had her first work published: a collection of short stories entitled The World's Bane. She had several novels published over the next fourteen years until the publication in 1932 of her masterpiece, Inheritance, set against the background of the development of the textile industry. Her work received widespread critical acclaim. Two further novels followed forming a trilogy.
In 1968 she wrote the children's novel Gold Pieces which is a fictionalised account, seen through the eyes of a twelve-year-old boy, of the Cragg Valley Coiners who defrauded the government by clipping the edges of gold coins to melt down the clippings so as to make new coins.
In addition to the novels, she also wrote non-fiction, including scholarly works on the Brontes, the woollen industry and West Riding history and topography.
In 1949 she was awarded a honorary DLitt from Leeds University; in 1958 she became a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature; and in 1970 was awarded an OBE