Noel Streatfeild
Noel Streatfeild's Life Children's Fiction Adults' Fiction Non-Fiction Autobiography and Biography Resource Materials    

Adults' Fiction

First Novels

Upon returning to England, Noel arranged rented accommodation and a paid companion for her widowed mother. She then retreated to her hostel at 11 Cromwell Rd to begin her new career as a novelist, undeterred by the fact that her spelling, grammar and punctuation were, to say the least, shaky.

Initially, she was frequently distracted by old friends telephoning her, and inviting her out to lunch and to matinées. Unable to convince them that she was working, Noel came up with a unique solution to the problem: she would simply stay in bed in the morning, writing by hand. She could not go out to lunch if she was still in her pyjamas, and her friends eventually took the hint, and stopped inviting her out during the day. This writing habit was to last the rest of Noel's life.

For her novel, The Whicharts, Noel drew directly on her disillusionment with the theatre. Noel had no idea how to approach a publisher, but fortunately her friend, Daphne Ionides, was able to help. Daphne passed the typescript on to an acquaintance, the writer Roland Pertwee, who, after reading it, sent it to his own publishers, Heinemann.

Heinemann accepted the book, and offered Noel a fifty pound advance. The Whicharts came out in September 1931, to generally positive reviews.

John Galsworthy, a celebrated novelist and dramatist, invited her to join the PEN club, waiving the normal rule that members must have published at least three books.

The Whicharts was followed by other successful books, which were reviewed positively. In particular, reviewers were unanimous in praising her knowledge of the theatre ... and also her presentation of children.

By 1936, Noel had earned enough money to move out of her hostel, and into a flat in Hertford Court, Shepherd's Market.

Due to the influence of Daphne Ionides, Noel joined the voluntary Child Care Committee for the poverty stricken area of Deptford. The purpose of the committee was to persuade parents to have recommended medical and dental treatments carried out on their children. Noel also became involved in public speaking, to plead the cause of South London.

After It Pays to be Good, Noel wrote a play - Wisdom Teeth - which was produced in March 1936. It is possible she was considering moving - or at least extending - her career from novelist to dramatist. But then early in 1936, Mabel Carey, the new children's editor at J. M. Dent and Sons, invited Noel to visit her. Like the reviewers, Mabel had been impressed by Noel's portrayal of children, and she wanted her to write a children's book about the theatre.


Noel Streatfeild's Life


World War One


First Novels

First Children's Books

World War Two

After the War

A National Monument

Full List of Titles   Site Map   Feedback   Acknowledgements