Ruth Manning-Sanders (21 August 1886 – 12 October 1988) was a prolific British poet and author who was perhaps best known for her series of children's books in which she collected and retold fairy tales from all over the world. All told, she published more than 90 books during her lifetime.
Ruth Vernon Manning was the youngest of three daughters of John Manning, an English Unitarian minister. She was born in Swansea, Wales, but, when she was three, her family moved to Cheshire, England. As a child, she had a great interest in reading books on many topics. She and her two sisters wrote and acted in their own plays. She described her childhood as "extraordinarily happy ... with kind and understanding parents and any amount of freedom."
Manning-Sanders studied English literature and Shakespearean studies at Manchester University. She married English artist George Sanders in 1911 (they changed their name to Manning-Sanders) and spent much of her early married life touring Great Britain with a horse-drawn caravan and working in the circus (a topic she wrote about extensively). Eventually, the family moved into a cottage in the fishing hamlet of Land's End, Cornwall. She and her husband had two children together, one of whom, Joan Floyd (17 May 1913, to 9 May 2002), found some fame as a teenage artist in the 1920s while under her maiden name of Joan Manning-Sanders.
After the Second World War and the accidental death of her husband in 1952, Manning-Sanders published dozens of fairy-tale anthologies, mostly during the 1960s and '70s. Many of them had titles beginning with "A Book of..." Some titles, therefore, were A Book of Wizards, A Book of Dwarfs, and so forth.
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