Hilaire Belloc, born in France, was the son of Bessie Rayner Parkes, the English writer and women's rights advocate, and her husband Louis Belloc, a French lawyer. His sister grew up to be the writer Marie Belloc-Lowndes. Bessie returned to England with her children after the death of her husband in 1872, and Hilaire eventually held dual British-French citizenship. After attending the Oratory School in Birmingham, he enrolled in Oxford University, where he was President of the Oxford Union and graduated with a first class honors degree. He became one of the most prolific writers in English during the early 20th century. A friend of George Bernard Shaw and H.G. Welles, Belloc joined the Fabian Society, although later in life he would become much more conservative and right-wing in his views. He wrote for newspapers such as the Daily News, The Speaker, the Pall Mall Gazette, the Glasgow Herald, and the New York World. He became literary editor of the Morning Post and editor of the political weekly The Eye-Witness. He produced two volumes of poetry, A Bad Child's Book of Beasts (1896) and Verses and Sonnets (1896). He also wrote novels, non-fiction, histories, and biographies. Belloc's Catholic faith had a strong impact on his writing and on his collaborations with his friend G.K. Chesterton. He also was a well-known orator and politician, serving as a Member of Parliament for Salford from 1906 to 1910.