Ann Bridge was born Mary Dolling Sanders in 1889. The wife of a diplomat who was posted around the world, Ann Bridge came to writing relatively late. Her first novel, Peking Picnic (1932) was an immediate success and won the Atlantic Monthly Prize. She went on to have a distinguished and prolific writing career, and continued to travel the world. She died in 1974. When it was first published in 1935, Illyrian Spring was a Book Society Choice and set a vogue for travel to the Adriatic, (the Prince of Wales even took his yacht there, on a much-publicised trip with Wallis Simpson).