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Elisabeth Castonier (1894–1975)

Author of Mill Farm

Includes the names: Elisabeth Castonier

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Elisabeth Castonier, née Borchardt, was born in Dresden, Germany. Her father was the successful painter Felix Borchardt. She spent her early childhood in Dresden, Paris, and Berlin. During World War I, she moved to Munich, where she participated in the bohemian life of the city. In 1923, she married the Danish singer Paul Castonier; the couple later divorced. She made her literary debut in 1928 with a crime novel called Der Schwarze Schatten (The Black Shadow). She contributed articles to various newspapers, including the satirical weekly Die Ente. Her play Die Sardinenfischer was banned by the Nazis shortly after its premiere in February 1933. After she was blacklisted by the regime, partly because of her close Jewish relatives, she left Germany for exile first in Austria, then in Italy and England. She wrote children's books and a book about Christian opposition to the Nazis. In London, she worked as a correspondent for The News Chronicle and The New Statesman and also for émigré German-language newspapers like the Pariser Tageszeitung and the Wiener Tageblatt. In 1944, during World War II, she went to live and work on a small farm in Hampshire owned by her friend Jane Napier. She and Napier later retired to a cottage in Wiltshire. During this time, she wrote her popular Mill Farm stories and her memoirs, Stürmisch bis heiter: Memoiren einer Außenseiterin (Stormy to Cheerful, 1964)
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