Emilie Rose Macaulay (1881-1958) was born in Rugby, Warwickshire but spent her early childhood in Italy. She was educated at Oxford High School for Girls and Somerville College, Oxford, where she read Modern History.
She wrote her first novel, Abbots Verney, in 1906, while living in Great Shelford, near Cambridge. Rose became an ardent Anglo-Catholic and, through her great childhood friendship with Rupert Brooks, was introduced to London literary society. After moving to London, in 1914 published her first book of poetry, The Two Blind Countries. In 1918 she met the novelist and former Catholic priest Gerald O'Donovan, the married man with whom she was to have an affair lasting until his death. Her final and most famous novel, The Towers of Trebizond (1956), was awarded a James Tait Black Memorial Prize and became a bestseller in America.
Rose Macaulay was made a Dame Commander of the British Empire in 1958, but seven months later suffered a heart attack and died at her home.