Born in 1940 and educated at Somerville College, Oxford University, Ms. Spurling has written biographies of Ivy Compton-Burnett, Paul Scott, Sonia Orwell and Henri Matisse in 2 volumes, which won the Whitbread Book of the Year Award and the Los Angeles Times biography prize in 2005. She is a CBE, Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and founder of the Royal Literary Society's Writers Fellowship scheme. Her latest book is Pearl Buck in China, of which The New York Times writes, "Hilary Spurling approaches Buck's life the way an art restorer approaches a serious but neglected painting. She clears away decades' worth of grime, repairs some buckling, smoothes out a bit of flaking craquelure. The resulting portrait ... has an absorbing glow." Spurling is currently writing a biography of the beloved author, Anthony Powell.