Norah Hoult was born in Dublin, Ireland. Her mother, Margaret O'Shaughnessy, was a Catholic who eloped at age 21 with Powis Hoult, a Protestant English architect. Both of her parents died while she was a child, and she and her brother were sent to live with their father's relatives in England, where they were educated in boarding schools. She worked as a journalist for the Sheffield Daily Telegraph and then moved to London to work on a magazine. Her first book, a collection of five short stories entitled Poor Women!, appeared in 1928 to critical acclaim, and launched her as a full-time writer. It was followed by a novel, Time Gentlemen! Time! (1930). She married Oliver Stonor, also a writer, and lived with him in Windsor Great Park for a year, but returned to Ireland from 1931 to 1937. The marriage was dissolved in 1934. Her next two books were Holy Ireland (1935) and its sequel Coming from the Fair (1937). She spent two years in the USA and settled in London in 1939. In 1957, she returned to live in Ireland permanently. Between 1928 and 1972, she published 24 novels and four short story collections.