Edith Wharton (née Jones), American novelist, poet and writer of short stories and non-fiction, was born in New York in 1862. She was raised in an affluent household and with her family she travelled extensively in Europe until the age of 10. As an adult, she was financially independent (through inherited wealth) and married Teddy Wharton at the age of 23. They went on to live in France and the United States.
From a young age, she wrote poetry and short fiction and completed a novella at the age of 15. Her first bestseller, The House of Mirth (1905), was originally published in a serial format by Scribner’s Magazine. In all, she went on to write 46 books and these include Ethan Frome (1911) and The Age of Innocence (1920).
She received a number of honors, such as the Pulitzer Prize for The Age of Innocence and the Gold medal from the National Institute of Arts and Letters. She was also awarded the Cross of the Légion d’Honneur for her war work (in World War I). Henry James was among her friends and she campaigned unsuccessfully for him to be awarded the Nobel Prize. She died in 1937 at the age of 75 and is buried at Versailles close to the grave of her long-term friend Walter Berry (whom she once described as the love of her life).