Emily Lawless was born into a Protestant Irish landowning family in County Kildare, a daughter of Edward Lawless, 3rd Baron Cloncurry. She was educated at home by a governess. Emily Lawless remained unmarried. She drew on Irish themes for many of her works, and published 19 books in a wide range of forms, including novels, history, biography, nature studies, short stories, poetry, and autobiography. Her work has gained increasing critical attention today for its feminist and environmental concerns.