Penelope Fitzgerald was born in December 1916. She was educated at Somerville College, Oxford and she worked for the BBC during World War II. She started writing at the age of 60 and was the author of nine novels, three of which - The Bookshop in 1978, The Beginning of Spring in 1988 and The Gate of Angels in 1990 - were shortlisted for the Booker Prize. She won the prize in 1979 for Offshore. Penelope Fitzgerald died in April 2000 aged 83.