Hermione Lee was born in 1948. She is a biographer, an academic and a reviewer. From 1998 to 2008 she was the Goldsmiths’ Professor of English Literature at the University of Oxford and a Professorial Fellow of New College Oxford (the first woman to take these posts). Before that she taught at the University of York for 20 years and has also worked at the University of Liverpool and in the United States.
As a writer, she is best-known for her prize-winning and influential biography of Virginia Woolf (1996). Her other books have all been on fiction-writers, American, Irish and English. They include critical studies of Elizabeth Bowen, Philip Roth, Virginia Woolf and Willa Cather, editions of Penelope Fitzgerald, Eudora Welty, Trollope and Kipling, and an anthology of short stories by women, The Secret Self (1985). In 2005 she published a collection of essays on biography called Body Parts: Essays on Life-Writing.
She reviews widely, especially for The Guardian and BBC’s Front Row. Her radio features include, most recently, two BBC programmes made with Julian Barnes on Edith Wharton and Henry James in France, and on Kipling in the First World War in 1993. In the 1980s she presented Channel Four’s first books programme, Book Four, and co-presented the Booker Prize coverage with Melvyn Bragg. In 2003 she was made a CBE for services to literature.