Jane Austen (1775-1817) was born in Hampshire, England, to George Austen, a rector, and his wife, Cassandra. Like many girls of her day, she was educated at home, where she began her literary career by writing parodies and skits for the amusement of her large family. Although Austen did not marry, she did have severa; suitors and once accepted a marriage proposal, but only for an evening. Although Austen never lived apart from her family, her work shows a woldly and wide sinsibility. Her novels include Sense and Sensibility (1811), Pride and Prejudice (1813), Mansfield Park (1814), Emma (1815), and Northanger Abbey and Persuasion, published together posthumously in 1818.
Margaret Drabble is the highly accalimed novelist, biographer, and editor of The Oxford Companion to English Literature. Her novels include The Gates of Ivory, The Seven Sisters, and The Red Queen. She lives in London.
Diane Johnson is the author of ten novels, including Le Divorce and L'Affaire, two books of essays, two biogrpahies, and the screenplay for Stanley Kubrick's classic film The Shinning. She has been a finalist twice for both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award.