Monica Ince Hughes, the daughter of Phyllis (Fry) and Edward Lindsay Ince, was born in Liverpool, England, on November 3, 1925. Before she was a year old, her father became head of the Mathematics Department at the University of Cairo, so the family moved to Egypt. When Monica and her sister reached school age, the Inces returned to London, and the girls were enrolled in the Notting Hill and Ealing High School, a private girls' school whose students were taken on frequent field trips to the British Museum, where Monica became fascinated by the development of language and the resulting power of storytellers over their audience.
Equally enthralling to the young girl were the books and stellar observations she shared with her father, an avid amateur astronomer. Her mother's accounts of the 1910 appearance of Halley's Comet increased Monica's interest in astronomy and helped to develop her narrative skill, but discovery of Jules Verne's novels focused her interest on science fiction. Her reading of adventure novels and the classics also influenced her writing.
Monica Hughes did not at first consider a career as a writer. After further schooling at the Convent of the Holy Child Jesus (Harrogate, Yorkshire) and a year at Edinburgh University, Hughes served in the Women's Royal Navy Service during World War II. She held a variety of other jobs, including dress designer in London (1948-1949) and in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe (1950), bank clerk in Umtali,...
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