Miss Read was born on April 17, 1913 as Dora Jessie Shafe. She worked as a teacher and started writing after World War II for Punch and other journals and as a scriptwriter for the BBC. She wrote her novels under the name Read which was her mother's maiden name. She is best known for her novels of English rural life and used her own memories of living and teaching in a small English village in her novels. She wrote more than forty novels, especially about Fairacre and Thrush Green and finished her writing career in 1996 with A Peaceful Retirement. In 1998, she was awarded an MBE for her services to literature. She currently lives in Berkshire, United Kingdom.