Claire Tomalin is an English biographer and journalist, the daughter of French academic Ã‰mile Delavenay and English composer Muriel Herbert.
Tomalin was born in London, and educated at Newnham College, Cambridge. She worked in publishing and journalism as literary editor of the New Statesman, then the Sunday Times, while bringing up her children. She has written several noted biographies. In 1974 she published her first book The Life and Death of Mary Wollstonecraft, which won the Whitbread Book Award. Since then she has researched and written Shelley and His World; Katherine Mansfield: A Secret Life; The Invisible Woman: The story of Nelly Ternan and Charles Dickens [ NCR, Hawthornden, James Tait Black Prize- now a film ]; Mrs Jordan's Profession; Jane Austen: A Life Samuel Pepys: the Unequalled Self [ Whitbread biography and Book of the Year prizes, Pepys Society Prize, Rose Mary Crawshay Prize ]. Thomas Hardy: The Time-Torn Man appeared in 2006, and she made a television film about Hardy, and published a collection of Hardy's poems. Her Charles Dickens: A Life was published in 2011. She also edited and introduced Mary Shelley's story for children, Maurice. A collection of her reviews, Several Strangers, appeared in 1999.