P. D. James was born in Oxford in 1920 and educated at Cambridge High School for Girls. From 1949 to 1968 she worked in the National Health Serviceand subsequently the Home Office, first in the Police Department and later in the Criminal Policy Department. All that experience has been used in her novels. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and the Royal Society of Arts, and has served as a Governor of the BBC, a member of the Arts Council, where she was Chairman of the Literary Advisory Panel, on the Board of the British Council and as a magistrate in Middlesex and London. She has won awards for crime writing in Britain, America, Italy and Scandinavia, including the Mystery Writers of America Grandmaster Award and the National Arts Club Medal of Honor for Literature (US). She has received honorary degrees from seven British universities, was awarded an OBE in 1983 and was created a life peer in 1991. In 1997 she was elected President of the Society of Authors. She lives in London and Oxford and has two daughters, five grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. Her novels include Cover Her Face, A Mind to Murder, Unnatural Causes, Shroud for a Nightingale, The Black Tower, Death of an Expert Witness, A Taste for Death, Devices and Desires, Original Sin, A Certain Justice, Death in Holy Orders, The Murder Room, The Lighthouse, The Private Patient, An Unsuitable Job for a Woman, The Skull Beneath the Skin, Innocent Blood and The Children of Men, several of which are published by Penguin. She is co-author, with T. A. Critchley, of The Maul and the Pear Tree, and two other works of non-fiction, Talking about Detective Fiction and Time to be In Earnest.