- € 3,99
Edith Maud Henderson was born on 16th August 1880 in Hampstead, England, the daughter of Katie Thorne, of New Brunswick, Canada and James Henderson, a Liverpool shipowner by way of New York City.
As a child she travelled widely with her parents, including Algeria with its vast expanses of desert, the future setting for much of her later works.
In 1899, Edith married Percy Winstanley Hull, then a civil engineer but later a prize-winning pig farmer. They moved to the Hull family estate in Derbyshire in the early 1900s where she gave birth to a daughter, Cecil.
With the Great War enveloping Europe her husband enlisted. With time to fill Edith began to write fiction. Her first publication was ‘The Sheik’, published in England in 1919. It was a phenomenon and was soon a best-seller, not only at home but across the globe.
The nascent movie industry was increasingly keen to put literature on screen. Paramount Pictures packaged the desert, romance and Rudolph Valentino into an extraordinary movie for the year 1921. Book sales soared. Two years later it had gone through 100 editions and was by itself as a stand-out best-seller.
Edith would later complain that despite the huge success of the movie the money received for the film rights was no match for it.
She continued to write into the early 30s and despite another huge success with a sequel ‘The Sons of the Sheik’, which was also filmed with Valentino, nothing she wrote, including ‘The Shadow of the East’ and ‘The Desert Healer’ found the same audience.
Despite this success Edith preferred to remain out of the limelight and seemed to enjoy being somewhat reclusive. This explains her use of pen-names whilst writing; E. M. Hull, Edith M. Hull, Edith Maud Winstanley.
E. M. Henderson died on February 11th, 1947, at age 66, in Duffield, Derbyshire.