Born near Manchester, Dodie Smith was already smitten by the theatrical bug by the time she entered St Paul's Girls School in London. After training at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, she went on to become a remarkably unsuccessful actress. Later she became a playwright and this time achieved considerable acclaim. She achieved enduring success with her first novel, I Capture the Castle, which was recently voted #82 in 'the nation's 100 best-loved novels' as part of the BBC's Big Read. Her children's book The Hundred and One Dalmatians was made into a cartoon film by Walt Disney.