Royal Holloway College, Egham Hill, Egham TW20 0EX, UK
St Christopher's School, 32 Belsize Ln, Hampstead, London NW3 5AE, UK
Rosemary Joy Manning (b. Weymouth, Dorset 9 December 1911 – 5 April 1988, Tunbridge Wells) was a British author of both adult and children's books. Her best-known novel is The Chinese Garden, considered by some to be an important lesbian book. She was also well known for her popular Dragon children's series. She was also known by the pseudonyms Sarah Davys and Mary Voyle. Lesbian historian Liz Whitelaw's on Cicely Hamilton (1990) is "In memory of Rosemary Manning": one lesbian biographer records another in a biography of a third.
Manning was born in 1911 to Thomas and Mary in Weymouth. Her father was a doctor but he had to resign following a scandal. Manning was sent to a boarding school in Devon; her experiences there would later influence The Chinese Garden. She studied at Royal Holloway College from 1930 to 1933 and graduated with a 2nd class honours degree in Classics.
She first worked in an Oxford Street department store then as a secretary In the 1930s, unhappy at work she suffered a nervous breakdown and was unsuccessfully treated at the Maudsley Hospital by unsympathetic doctors due to her lesbianism. Her former headmistress offered her teaching work and she stayed as a teacher for a further 35 years. In 1950 she moved with a friend to Hampstead, north London, to take over a long-established girls' preparatory school and became headmistress.
In 1962 she broke up with her partner and in April she tried to kill herself using the drug Luminal. However a suicide note was delivered promptly by the post office and help arrived. She was sad to find that she had failed. Later that year she published The Chinese Garden which is mentioned above. The book is considered important as a lesbian novel.
She later took up writing, After retirement, she came out as a lesbian during a television interview in 1980. In 1985 when the Greater London Council launched their Changing the World Lesbian and Gay Charter Manning was there at the launch. She appeared with Miriam Margolyes, Valerie Wise, Ken Livingstone, Jenni Fletcher and Jimmy Somerville.
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