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Rachel Billington was born Lady Rachel Pakenham into a well-known Anglo-Irish family. Her parents, both writers, were the the 7th Earl and Countess of Longford: Frank Pakenham, Labour minister and prisoner activist, and Elizabeth Longford, biographer and historian. Many other members of her family are also eminent writers, including her sisters Antonia Fraser and Judith Kazantzis, and her brother Thomas Pakenham, the present Earl. She married Kevin Billington, a film, theater and television director with whom she has four children. Rachel Billington's first novel was All Things Nice (1969). Since then, she has published 19 other novels for adults and 7 children's books. She has also worked as a journalist and written nonfiction, religious books, television plays and screenplays. She is a former president of English PEN, and contributes to Inside Time, the national newspaper for prisoners. She received the OBE in 2012 for her services to literature.
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