P. L. Travers was born Helen Lyndon Goff in 1899 in Queensland, Australia. She worked as a dancer and an actress, but writing was her real love and she turned to journalism. Travers set sail for England in 1924 and became an essayist, theatre and film critic, and scholar of folklore and myth. While recuperating from a serious illness Travers wrote Mary Poppins -'to while away the days, but also to put down something that had been in my mind for a long time,' she said. It was first published in 1934 and was an instant success. Mary Poppins has gone on to become one of the best-loved classics in children's literature and has enchanted generations. In addition to the Mary Poppins books, Travers wrote novels, poetry and non-fiction. She received an OBE in 1977 and died in 1996.