Mary Stewart was one of the 20th century's bestselling and best-loved novelists. She was born in Sunderland, County Durham in 1916, but lived for most of her life in Scotland, a source of much inspiration for her writing. Her first novel, Madam, Will You Talk?
was published in 1955 and marked the beginning of a long and acclaimed writing career. In 1971 she was awarded the International PEN Association's Frederick Niven Prize for The Crystal Cave
, and in 1974 the Scottish Arts Council Award for one of her children's books, Ludo and the Star Horse
. She was married to the Scottish geologist Frederick Stewart, and died in 2014.