Read by David Shaw-Parker (Unabridged: 56 mins)
Netta Syrett was born Janet Syrett on 17th March 1865 in Ramsgate, Kent, one of 13 children.
She was initially educated at home by her mother before those responsibilities passed to a German Governess and then, aged 11, Netta went to the North London Collegiate School. From there she attended Hughes Hall, Cambridge and completed a three-year course for a full teaching certificate in only one year.
She taught for two years at a Swansea school before moving to teach at the London Polytechnic School for Girls.
Her friend and colleague, Mabel Beardsley, introduced her to her brother, Aubrey, the famed illustrator and the then art editor for the illustrated quarterly ‘The Yellow Book’, and its literary editor, the American Henry Harland, who then published 3 of her short stories. Her writing is also notable for its use of women characters who were less dependent on others and the society around them and were able to forge new independent paths.
Her debut novel, ‘Nobody's Fault’ (1896) was the beginning of a long and prolific output. For the next several years her writing and teaching careers ran alongside each other.
A highly critical review of her controversial, for those times, play ‘The Finding of Nancy’ suggesting it was an autobiography led to calls from overly moral parents for her to resign her teaching position. Netta now concentrated solely on her writing, only retiring in 1939.
Netta Syrett died after a long illness in London on 15th December 1943.