Mary Renault

Mary Renault

Author: Mary Renault

Profile: Mary Renault was an English and South African writer. She was born in Forest Gate, Essex, England, UK and died in Cape Town, South Africa. She studied first at Levick family school and Clifton Girls School in Bristol and later at St. Hugh’s College, Oxford.

At the all-women’s college, St. Hugh’s College she first read English and then in 1928 received an undergraduate degree. She took training as the Radcliffe Infirmary in Oxford as a nurse in 1933 where she met her partner Julie Mullard and continued a romantic relationship for her whole life.

Before starting her writing career she worked as a nurse till the year 1945. In 1939 she published her debut novel, Purposes of Love.

Writing style: Mary Renault’s genre is historical fiction. Mary Renault is popularly known for her historical novels set in ancient Greece. She has brilliantly portrayed fictional of Plato, Theseus, Alexander the Great and Socrates. A non-fiction biography of Alexander has also been written by her.

Published Texts:

Contemporary fiction


1939 – Purposes of Love

1940 – Kind Are Her Answers

1944 – The Friendly Young Ladies

1947 – Return to Night

1948 – The North Face

1953 – The Charioteer

Historical novels

1956 – The Last of the Wine

1958 – The King Must Die

1962 – The Bull from the Sea

1966 – The Mask of Apollo

1969 – Fire from Heaven

1972 – The Persian Boy

1978 – The Praise Singer

1981 – Funeral Games


1964 – The Lion in the Gateway: The Heroic Battles of the Greeks and Persians at Marathon, Salamis and Thermopylae

1975 – The Nature of Alexander

Awards and Acknowledgements:

1948 – Won an MGM prize worth $ 150,000 (for Return to Night)

Michael Bakewell adapted The King Must Die and The Bull From the Sea, its sequel into a single eleven part BBC Radio 4 serial with the title The King Must Die. On 17 June 2003 it was repeated again on BBC7

Adaptation of The Charioteer was done for BBC Radio 4’s Book at Bedtime extending to ten episodes and from 25 November 2013it was broadcast for over two weeks.

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