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see Telegraph orbituary online http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/orbit...
Penelope Anne Fairbairn was born in London and spent her childhood at Steventon, Hampshire, where Jane Austen also was raised. She hoped for a literary career and got a job for a short time as a secretary at Faber & Faber. In 1948, she married Michael Hughes-Hallett, a land agent, with whom she moved to the country and had three children. Penelope Hughes-Hallett decided in her mid-40s to complete her education, first by correspondence course and then with the Open University. She re-established contact with Faber & Faber, where she helped T.S. Eliot's widow Valerie to edit Eliot's letters. Penelope also began to teach literature within the Open University and at the Oxford University Department of External Studies. She then started writing books of her own. Her first published work was an anthology, Childhood (1988), enriched by her knowledge of 19th-century children's literature. It was followed by other books including My Dear Cassandra (1990), about the relationship between Jane Austen and her sister; and At Home in Grasmere (1993), about Wordsworth and his circle. Her most original work was The Immortal Dinner (2000) which took as its starting point an 1817 dinner party given by the painter Benjamin Haydon for his friends Wordsworth, Keats, Charles Lamb, and others. Penelope Hughes-Hallet also served as a member of the board of the Open University.
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