Elizabeth Noble was born in December 1968, in Buckinghamshire, England.
She was educated in England and Canada, where the family lived for several years in Toronto.
In 1990 she graduated from St. Edmund Hall, Oxford University, with a BA (Honors) in English language and literature. But it was the diploma (Intensive Secretarial) that she was awarded by the typing school above the Italian cafÉ in Covent Garden that got her into her chosen career—publishing. Over a six-year period she worked in the editorial, marketing, publicity, and sales departments of several big publishing houses—moving every couple of years, once she had made a big enough mess in the filing (note to bewildered successors: check under m for miscellaneous). This makes her a tricky author. She speaks fluent publishing.
She took a career break—she called it retired—to have her two daughters, after her marriage in 1996. When her youngest daughter was ready to go to nursery school, and real work beckoned, she decided to try what she had been threatening to do for years, and wrote a hundred pages of The Reading Group.
Then it took her nine months to work up the courage to send it to an agent. The Reading Group was published in the UK in January 2004 and went straight to the number-one position in The Sunday Times’s Fiction Bestseller list. She was supposed to be signing stock in London bookshops the day the chart was announced, but she had grown bored and was trying on trousers—they didn’t fit—in a ladies’ clothing store when the call came. So she was literally caught with her pants down.
The book has since sold almost a quarter of a million copies in the UK. But the other day her elder daughter, Tallulah, told her she would rather she got a job in a chicken plucking factory because then she would be at home more, so she doesn’t think there is much danger of her getting conceited.
She has recently finished her second novel—there were no vacancies at the chicken plucking factory—and begun her third.
She lives with her husband and their ungrateful children in a haunted vicarage in “the safest village in Surrey,” England. They obviously don’t know about the ghost.