Margaret Storm Jameson was born into a Whitby ship building family in 1891. Her father was a ship’s captain and as a tiny child she accompanied her parents on sea voyages, claiming as one of her earliest memories a quay in Antwerp. This pre-school travel, and a passion for foreign places inherited from her mother, may have contributed to Jameson’s lifelong hatred of settled life and domestic roots.

Encouraged by her mother she went to school in Whitby and then Scarborough, and in 1912 was the first woman to graduate with a first in English at Leeds, and one of only a dozen female students at Kings College London, where she completed her Leeds MA thesis on modern European drama. She helped set up the Eikonoklasts, a discussion group she described as ’sceptics, unavowed anarchists, self-dedicated to the unmasking of hypocrites’ and enjoyed the London intellectual world, first as a scholar, then a copywriter, essayist and later as the London scout of US publisher Alfred A. Knopf. She depicts the period in the recollections of Hervey Russell, Jameson’s autobiographical ’shadow’, in her Mirror in Darkness novel trilogy (1934-1936).

As President of the English Centre of International PEN from 1938-1944, Jameson helped intellectuals escape from Nazi-occupied countries, and sponsored groups of refugee writers, work which began her lifelong interest in themes of exile. She was placed on a Nazi blacklist to be arrested if there was an invasion. When invited to write the introduction to the first English edition of Anne Frank’s diary, she stated it was ‘worth more to the world than all my industrious labour as a novelist.’

Her story ‘The Last Night’ features in Light Transports.