Janet Todd was born in mid Wales and has led a wandering life. She attended numerous schools and has lived in many countries including Bermuda and Sri Lanka. She has worked in universities in England, Scotland, Ghana, the US, Puerto Rico, and India. She is the President of Lucy Cavendish College, University of Cambridge, the only college in Europe solely for women over 21.
When many years ago she began her research there was little interest in early women writers and for much of her career she has worked with others to bring them back into cultural prominence. Her early books include The Sign of Angellica; Women, writing and fiction 1660-1800 and Women’s Friendship in Literature. After years of editing letters, plays and novels, she turned to biography. Her first was of Aphra Behn, Restoration spy, playwright, poet and novelist; then in a trio she told the lives of the enlightenment feminist Mary Wollstonecraft, her Irish pupil, Lady Mount Cashell (Rebel Daughters), and her children Fanny Wollstonecraft and Mary Shelley (Death and the Maidens). She has also written reviews for the Guardian, Times Literary Supplement and Times Higher Education Supplement and contributed to radio and television programmes.
Most recently she has returned to an early love, Jane Austen, editing and introducing her works, her latest book being Jane Austen, her life, her times her novels. She found it hard to resist spinning off and she made of an early Austen tale in letters her own novel Lady Susan Plays the Game, a Bloomsbury ebook. Having had the taste of fiction writing, she is finding it hard to desist.