Writer Dorothy Leigh Sayers (1893–1957) was born on this day in Oxford, England. An only child, she remembered fondly her childhood walks along the Isis River. One of the first women to graduate from the University of Oxford, she did so with honors.
"We shall know what things are of overmastering importance when they have overmastered us," she once said.
A copywriter for an advertising agency, in 1923 she published the detective story Whose Body, her first of 14 popular novels centered on her dashing hero, Lord Peter Wimsey.
She described her writing process as "laying a mosaic--putting each piece apparently meaningless and detached--into its place, until one suddenly sees the thing as a consistent picture."
With intellectual passion, Sayers was a valued part of the literary group that included fellow writers G. K. Chesterton, C.S. Lewis, and J.R.R.Tolkien. She said, "The great advantage about telling the truth is that nobody ever believes it."
In her later years she became a famous lecturer on theology and taught herself Italian to translate Dante's Inferno (1949) and Purgatorio (1955), what she called examining "the drama of the soul's choice."
"The only Christian work is good work, well done," she said.
When in doubt, lead with your heart.