Norah "Ella" Hoult (10 September 1898 – 6 April 1984) was an Irish writer of novels and short stories.

She was born in Dublin. Her mother, Margaret O'Shaughnessy, was a Catholic girl who eloped at the age of 21 with a Protestant English architect named Powis Hoult. Both Norah's parents died while she was still a child, and she and her brother were sent to live with their father's relations in England, where they were educated in various boarding schools.[1]

Her first book, Poor Women!, appeared in 1928.[2] This collection of five short stories received considerable critical acclaim, and has been reprinted several times, both individually and in selected editions.[citation needed] It was followed by a novel, Time Gentlemen! Time! (1930), which deals with a woman's unhappy marriage to an alcoholic.[citation needed]

She married the writer Oliver Stonor, and lived with him at The Cottage in Windsor Great Park for a year, but returned to Ireland to collect material for her writing from 1931 to 1937. The marriage was dissolved in 1934. Her next two books, Holy Ireland (1935) and its sequel Coming from the Fair (1937), show Irish family life before World War I.[citation needed]

In 1939 she settled in London, in Bayswater, not far from Violet Hunt upon whom Claire Temple in There Were No Windows[3] (1944) is modelled.[4] In 1957 she returned to live in Ireland.[5]

In 1977 she published her last book.[6] She died at Jonquil Cottage, Greystones, County Wicklow, on April 6, 1984.[7]

She was a friend of the Scottish writer Fred Urquhart and some of their correspondence is preserved in his archive.[8]


  • Poor Women! (short stories, 1928)
  • Time Gentlemen! Time! (1930) [published in the U.S. as Closing Time]
  • Violet Ryder (from Poor Women!, 1930)
  • Apartments to Let (1931)
  • Youth Can't Be Served (1933)
  • Holy Ireland (1935)
  • Coming from the Fair (1937)
  • Nine Years is a Long Time (short stories, 1938)
  • Smilin' on the Vine (1939)
  • Four Women Grow Up (1940)
  • Augusta Steps Out (1942)
  • Scene for Death (1943)
  • There Were No Windows (1944) (Republished in 2005 by Persephone Books)
  • House Under Mars (1946)
  • Farewell Happy Fields (1948)
  • Cocktail Bar (short stories, 1950)
  • Frozen Ground (autobiography, 1952)
  • Sister Mavis (1953)
  • A Death Occurred (1954)
  • Journey Into Print (1954)
  • Father Hone and the Television Set (1956)
  • Father and Daughter (1957)
  • Husband and Wife (1959)
  • The Last Days of Miss Jenkinson (1962)
  • A Poet's Pilgrimage (1966)
  • Only Fools and Horses Work (1969)
  • Not For Our Sins Alone (1972)
  • Two Girls in the Big Smoke (1977)


  1. ^ "Norah Hoult". Persephone Books. Retrieved 27 September 2017.
  2. ^ "Norah Hoult". Persephone Books. Retrieved 27 September 2017.
  3. ^ Republished by Persephone Books in 2005
  4. ^ "Norah Hoult". Persephone Books. Retrieved 27 September 2017.
  5. ^ "Norah Hoult". Persephone Books. Retrieved 27 September 2017.
  6. ^ "Norah Hoult". Persephone Books. Retrieved 27 September 2017.
  7. ^ "Norah Hoult". Persephone Books. Retrieved 27 September 2017.
  8. ^ "Fred Urquhart: An Inventory of His Papers at the Harry Ransom Center". University of Texas. Retrieved 27 September 2017.

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