Elinor M. Brent-Dyer was born Gladys Eleanor May Dyer on 6th April 1894, in South Shields, an industrial town in Tyneside. Unlike many of her heroines, she was one of only two children, and - the product of a broken home - she did not have a happy childhood.
On her eighteenth birthday Elinor became a teacher, and for many years she taught in a variety of schools, both state and private, becoming headmistress of her own school in Hereford in 1938. It was called The Margaret Roper School (named after Sir Thomas More's accomplished daughter), and shared many ideals and customs with the fictional Chalet School.
Elinor's first book, Gerry Goes to School, was published in 1922, and her first Chalet School book in 1925. During the next forty-seven years she produced more than a hundred novels as well as several plays and two collections of poems, and a massive historical novel about Sir Thomas More.
After the death of her mother, with whom she had lived for many years, Elinor moved to a house in Redhill in Surrey. There she wrote five further Chalet School books, the last of which was published six months after she died.