• Birth—ca. 1964-65
• Where—England, UK
• Education—London School of Economics; M.F.A., State University of New York,
at Stony Brook
• Currently—lives in Washington, DC,
Helen Simonson is the author of two novels, The Last Stand of Major Pettigrew (2010) and The Summer Before the War (2016). Though living in America, Simonson was born and raised in England.
She grew up near Rye, a 14th century smuggling port from which the sea receded long ago. The town is now surrounded by marshland, the very place Charles Dickens' Pip, from Great Expectations, started off on his jouney to manhood. Rye is situated in East Sussex, a county of medieval villages, seaside towns, and high grassy bluffs known as the South Downs. Simonson considers it her ideal of home.
But over the past three decades Simonson has lived in the U.S.—first, as a long-time and proud resident of Brooklyn, New York, and more recently in the Washington D.C. area.
As a young woman, Simonson was eager to head to London for college and, later, to move across the pond to America. Yet she has always carried with her a deep longing for home. "I think this dichotomy—between the desire for home and the urge to leave—is of central interest to my life and my writing," she has said. (Adapted from the author's website.)
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