Prolific Victorian writer Edith Nesbit Bland (1858–1924) was born on this day in Kennington, South London, the daughter of an agricultural chemist. She attended boarding school and described herself as an eternal child.
"Time and space are only forms of thought," she said.
A woman far ahead of her time, she delighted in being a nonconformist who bobbed her hair, smoked cigarettes nonstop, and loved the outdoors.
In 1884, she helped form Britain's famous Fabian Society, a group that sought utopian reform, debated social issues, and included such intellectuals as George Bernard Shaw and H. G. Wells.
Nesbit enjoyed the political collaboration and was inspired by the insights of Christina Rossetti to write poetry. However, it was her children's stories which reaped the greatest success. She said: "It is wonderful how quickly you get used to things, even the most astonishing."
Her storytelling mixed realism with fantasy and featured strong characters and soft metaphors. She wrote: "The grass was chill and dewy and the clouds had veiled the moon. The lovers and the children were standing together, all clinging close, not for fear, but for love."
Sharing her passion for enchantment and her gift of imagination, she published over 40 books for children, including The Story of the Treasure-Seekers (1899), Five Children and It (1902), and The Enchanted Castle (1907) in which she observed, "Facts are facts, and you can't explain them away."