Mitchison, Naomi, 1897-1999

Alternative names
Birth 1897-11-01
Death 1999-01-11

Biographical notes:

English author.

From the description of Thunder over Dacca : typescript, [n.d.]. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270875096

From the description of The boxes : typescript, [n.d.]. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270870153

From the description of Mary and Joe [short story] : typescript, [n.d.]. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270870181

From the description of The winter plower ... : typescript, [n.d.]. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270875089

From the description of The three kings [poem] : typescript, [n.d.]. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270875092

From the description of The sea horse [short story] : typescript, [n.d.]. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270875072

From the description of Typescript of an untitled essay, [n.d.]. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270874979

English author, novelist, and poet.

From the description of Papers, 1909-1979. (Columbia University In the City of New York). WorldCat record id: 122482707

Naomi Mitchison was born in Scotland in 1897, the daughter of the physiologist John Haldane (1892-1964). She studied science at Oxford and, in 1916, married the barrister Gilbert Mitchison (1890-1970). Gilbert ('Dick') Mitchison shared his wife's socialist beliefs and was later Labour MP for Kettering (1945-1964). He was made a life peer (Baron Mitchison of Carradale) in 1964.

Mitchison herself was a prolific author and completed over ninety works in her lifetime. These included historical and contemporary novels, poetry, plays, short stories, children's and fantasy fiction, and a set of memoirs. Politically active in the 1930s when she stood as a Labour Party candidate for the Scottish Universities in 1935, advocacy - especially of women's rights but also in respect of Scottish island communities - remained an important part of her life. She travelled widely and had a particular interest in African affairs. Africa provided a setting for some of her novels. In 1963 she was made a tribal adviser ('Mmarona' or 'mother') to the Bakgatla of Botswana. The close relationship with this tribal community began when, having been stranded while travelling, the chief offered her hospitality. A lasting relationship with the Bakgatla developed from this and she continuted to visit even in her later years.

From the guide to the Papers of Naomi Mitchison, 1955-1972, (Borthwick Institute for Archives, University of York)


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  • English literature--20th century
  • Authors, English
  • Personal papers
  • Authors and publishers


  • Novelists
  • Women novelists
  • Women poets
  • Poets
  • Women authors, English


  • Botswana (as recorded)
  • England (as recorded)