Writer. Born Ella Gwendoline Rees Williams in Hillsborough Street, Roseau, Dominica. She moved to England in 1910 and studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. After marrying in 1919, she moved to Paris where she met many writers and artists, including James Joyce and Ernest Hemingway. In 1927 she published her first work 'The Left Bank and Other Stories'. Married twice and had a lover/mentor in Ford Madox Ford. She disappeared from public life for many years, but re-emerged in 1966 when her best known novel 'The Wild Sargasso Sea' was published. Died at the County Hospital, Exeter.
Diana Athill edited her later works and was also part of the support network necessary for Rhys to live and work. This include: Sonia Orwell (George Orwell's widow) and Diana Melly (George Melly's wife).
On the subject of names: She adopted the pen name 'Jean Rhys' in 1922, 2 or 3 years after she had married her first husband, who was born Willem Johan Marie Lenglet, known as Jean Lenglet and published as Édouard de Nève. She assumed her husband's, assumed, first name, albeit with different pronounciations. The Waughs' friends had to resort to 'he-Evelyn' and 'she-Evelyn'.
Credit for this entry to: Alan Patient of www.plaquesoflondon.co.uk