Dorothy L. Sayers: Biography

Dorothy L. Sayers

13 jun 1893

Dorothy L. Sayers was born in 1893 in Essex, England and was a playwright, essayist, poet and, most famously, a renowned writer of crime fiction.

Sayers was the only children of the Reverend Henry Sayers and his wife. She grew up with a very close relationship with the church and her father’s education meant that he was able to start teaching her Latin when she was just 6 years old. This sparked her interest in language and linguistics and formed the basis of her entire career.

Sayers was granted a scholarship to study modern languages at Somerville College, Oxford in 1912. She received a first-class honours in her studies and was one of the first women to be awarded a degree, although she had to wait a few years after she had completed her studies to be allowed to be given such recognition.

Sayers’ first published work was a book of poetry which was printed in 1916. She published a second collection of poems just a couple of years later, before turning her focus to crime novels. She was one of the prominent figures to be writing during the Golden Age of Detective Fiction and popularised female detective characters as well as her most famous male protagonist: Lord Peter Wimsey.

Despite her success as a novelist and poet, Sayers herself always considered her greatest work to be her translations. She was an extremely talented linguist and her translation of Dante’s Divine Comedy was her pride and glory.

Dorothy L. Sayers died suddenly in 1957, aged 64 years of age. Her ashes are brined under St Anne’s Church, Soho, where she was an active member of the congregation and a churchwarden for number of years.