Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Jane Eyre: Life of Jean Rhys

Year 11 Extension English


Jean Rhys, original name Ella Gwendolen Rees Williams, (born August 24, 1890, Roseau, Dominica, Windward Islands, West Indies—died May 14, 1979, Exeter, Devon, England), West Indian novelist who earned acclaim for her early works set in the bohemian world of Europe in the 1920s and ’30s but who stopped writing for nearly three decades, until she wrote a successful novel set in the West Indies.

The Heroine Collective

While painstakingly drafting Wide Sargasso Sea, the novel many would consider to be her masterpiece, Jean Rhys turned on the radio to hear herself being described as a “forgotten dead writer” by an eminent critic. Rhys had to call up the BBC and inform them that she was, in fact, alive, and writing, and would prefer it if the literary establishment would stop assuming she was dead.


Steve Padley re-examines the life and works of post-colonial novelist and short story writer Jean Rhys, author of ‘Wide Sargasso Sea’ and ‘Good Morning Midnight’.

Voice of the writer Jean Rhys.

The Guardian

Taunted with the cruel nickname the 'white cockroach' as a child, the author Jean Rhys grew up on the Caribbean island of Dominica. She was the daughter of a Creole mother and a Welsh father and always felt distant from both the black and white communities. Her complicated childhood was to continue to influence one of the most intriguing literary lives of the last century and inform all her writing.

Literary Hub

Jean Rhys had to leave her home to truely see it.