Mary Stewart was born on September 17, 1916 in Sunderland, County Durham, England. She received a First Class Honours B.A. in English from Durham University in 1938 and a teaching certificate in 1939. She taught in elementary school until 1941 when she was offered a post at Durham University. She taught there until 1945 and received a M.A. in English during that time. Her first book, Madam, Will You Talk?, was published in 1955. Her other works included My Brother Michael, Touch Not the Cat, This Rough Magic, Nine Coaches Waiting, Thornyhold, Rose Cottage, and the Merlin Trilogy. She also wrote children's books including Ludo and the Star Horse and A Walk in Wolf Wood. She died on May 9, 2014 at the age of 97.