Helen Dunmore was born in Beverley Yorkshire in 1952. Having studied English, she taught the subject as a foreign language in Finland after she graduated.
She started her writing career with poetry and her first collection The Apple Fall was published by Bloodaxe in 1983. During her career, she published 11 collections of poetry, three books of short stories and twelve novels, as well as publishing books for children and young adults. She resided in Bristol and owned a studio that looked out over the city. Many of her books are based in the South West and Cornwall had a particular place in her heart.