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Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Authors

Mrs. Campbell Praed

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Mrs. Campbell Praed

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Full Name: Rosa Campbell Praed
Born: March 27, 1851
Bromelton, Queensland, Australia
Died: April 10, 1935
Torquay, England, UK
Occupation: Novelist
Nationality: Australian


Rosa Campbell Praed often credited as Mrs. Campbell Praed (and also known as Rosa Caroline Praed), was an Australian novelist in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Her large bibliography covered multiple genres, and books for children as well as adults. She has been described as the first Australian novelist to achieve a significant international reputation.

In 1880 she published her first book, An Australian Heroine, which had been twice returned to her for revision by Chapman and Hall's reader, George Meredith; he probably gave her advice of great value. It was well-reviewed and established her as an author. This book was followed by Policy and Passion (1881), one of the best of her earlier books, which went into at least three editions. An Australian reprint was issued in 1887 under the title of Longleat of Kooralbyn. Nadine; the Study of a Woman, was published in 1882, Moloch; a Story of Sacrifice, in 1883, and Zero; a story of Monte Carlo, in 1884.

As her fame grew, the Praeds moved from Northamptonshire to London. Celebrities such as the writers Oscar Wilde, Rudyard Kipling and Bram Stoker visited them. They also mixed with playwrights, actors such as Ellen Terry, painters, artists, politicians and people interested in occultism and theosophy. She also met another expatriate Australian, the artist Mortimer Menpes.

In 1884 she began her friendship with Irish politician, historian and writer, Justin McCarthy, a friendship which continued for the rest of his life. He was 20 years her senior, with an established reputation as a literary man. They collaborated on three political novels, The Right Honourable (1886), The Rebel Rose, and The Ladies' Gallery (1888). Another joint work was The Grey River (1889), a large-format book on the Thames, illustrated with etchings by Mortimer Menpes. Clarke describes it as "an early example of the 'coffee-table' genre". Around this time, Menpes, at Praed's request, also decorated her house and gave art lessons to her daughter, Maud. Although Praed encouraged her daughter's artistic skills, using some of her drawings to illustrate her works, Maud was admitted to a mental asylum in the late 1890s and remained there until her death in 1941.

In 1894-95, she returned to Australia, visiting Japan on her return to England. As a result of this visit, she wrote Madame Izàn: A Tourist Story (1899) in which she "raised the then daring subject of an interracial marriage between a Japanese man and an Irish woman".

In 1899, she began collaborating with medium Nancy Harward, with whom she lived for thirty years. During this time she wrote her novels about the occult and reincarnation, starting with Nyria (1904).

Praed's husband died in 1901, and in 1902 she published My Australian Girlhood, an account of her life in the country before her marriage. It contains many interesting memories, especially those relating to the aborigines. After a friendship of nearly 30 years Justin McCarthy died in April 1912. Towards the end of that year Praed published Our Book of Memories: Letters of Justin McCarthy to Mrs Campbell Praed, with connecting explanations.

Her last years were spent at Torquay. In 1931 she published The Soul of Nyria, which purports to be an intimate account of life in Rome over 1800 years ago as set down by a modern woman in a mediumistic state. This record was written down by her between 1899 and 1903, but was not published until nearly 30 years later. Her novel, Nyria, was based on these experiences.

Works in the WWEnd Database

 Ron Miller Science Fiction Classics

 54. (1902)


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