Mary Renault

Mary Renault (born Eileen Mary Challans, 4 September 1905 – 13 December 1983) was an English writer.

Renault received an undergraduate degree in English from St Hugh’s College, Oxford, in 1928. She then trained as a nurse at the Radcliffe Infirmary in Oxford, where she met her lifelong partner, the nurse Julie Mullard. Renault worked as a nurse until 1945. In 1948, she and her partner emigrated to South Africa, where Renaut lived until her death.

Julie Mullard and Mary Renault


  • Purposes of Love (US title: Promise of Love) (1939)
  • Kind Are Her Answers (1940)
  • The Friendly Young Ladies (1944. US title: The Middle Mist, 1945)
  • Return to Night (1947)
  • The North Face (1948)
  • The Charioteer (1953)
  • The Last of the Wine(1956)
  • The King Must Die (1958)
  • The Bull from the Sea (1962)
  • The Mask of Apollo (1966)
  • Fire from Heaven (1969)
  • The Persian Boy (1972)
  • The Praise Singer (1978)
  • Funeral Games (1981)


  • The Lion in the Gateway: The Heroic Battles of the Greeks and Persians at Marathon, Salamis, and Thermopylae (1964)
  • The Nature of Alexander (1975)

Books about her

  • Mary Renault: a biography, by David Sweetman  (1993)
  • The masks of Mary Renault: a literary biography, by Caroline Zilboorg (2001)

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