About Claire Tomalin

Claire Tomalin was born in London in 1933 to a French father, Emile Delavenay, and an English mother, the composer Muriel Herbert.   She was educated partly at the French Lycee de Londres and at various English schools.   She read English at Cambridge, graduated from Newnham College in 1954 and is now an Honorary Fellow of the college.

She married Nicholas Tomalin in 1955 and worked in publishing and journalism while bringing up their children,  becoming Literary Editor of the New Statesman and later the Sunday Times.   In 1973 her husband was killed reporting the Yom Kippur war.   In 1974 her first book, The Life and Death of Mary Wollstonecraft, was published.

After leaving the Sunday Times in 1986 she devoted herself to writing full time.

She and the writer Michael Frayn were married in 1993.

She does occasional broadcasting and television, and made a South Bank Show film about Thomas Hardy with Melvyn Bragg. She has also organised exhibitions, one on Mrs Jordan at Kenwood, another on Mary Wollstonecraft and Mary Shelley at the National Portrait Gallery, where she was a Trustee for ten years.   She also gives lectures.

She has honorary doctorates from the following universities: Cambridge, UEA, Birmingham, The Open University, Greenwich, Goldsmiths,  Roehampton and York.

She is a Freeman of the City of London.