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Mary Renault
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    (September 4, 1905-December 13, 1983)
    Born in Forest Gate, England, United Kingdom
    Birth name was Eileen Mary Challans
    Known for writing historical fiction set in Ancient Greece
    Wrote 'The Last of the Wine' (1956), 'The King Must Die' (1958), 'The Bull from the Sea' (1962), 'The Mask of Apollo' (1966), 'Fire from Heaven' (1969), 'The Persian Boy' (1972), 'The Praise Singer' (1978) and 'Funeral Games' (1981)
    A biographer noted about her name, 'She always pronounced it 'Ren-olt', though almost everyone would come to speak of her as if she were a French car.'
    Her portrayals of homosexuality in her books fostered rumors that she was actually a gay man writing under a female pseudonym.
    Despite a life-long romantic relationship with Julie Mullard, she expressed hostility toward the gay rights movement.
    Her novels about Alexander the Great inspired Oliver Stone's flop 'Alexander.'
    Before writing, she was a nurse and treated evacuees from Dunkirk during WWII.
    She and Mullard emigrated to South Africa to escape 'the repressive attitudes towards homosexuality in Britain for the comparatively liberal atmosphere of Durban.'
    In South Africa, she and Mullard joined the anti-apartheid Black Sash Campaign.
    Although she was not a classical scholar, her recreations of ancient Greece were widely admired.

Credit: C. Fishel

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