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Born Marguerite Radclyffe-Hall, the daughter of Radclyffe Radclyffe-Hall. She was known as Peter as a child but later called herself John, probably after her great-grandfather whom she strongly resembled.
In the 1920s she began writing novels and writing under the name of Radclyffe Hall. Her Adam's Breed in 1926, was the only novel, apart from E. M. Forster's A Passage to India, to be awarded both the Prix Femina and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize.
Radclyffe Hall subscribed to the the theories of "sexual inversion" and cultivated the stereotype of the masculine lesbian. The notoriety of her work brought lesbianism to the conscousness of the British public and the rest of the Anglo-Saxon world which had previously been able to largely ignore it.