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Jane Aiken Hodge was born in Massachusetts to Pulitzer prize-winning poet, Conrad Aiken, and his first wife, writer Jessie McDonald. Hodge was 3 years old when her family moved to Great Britain, settling in Rye, East Sussex, where her younger sister, Joan, who would become a novelist and a children's writer, was born.
From 1935, Jane Hodge read English at Somerville College, Oxford University, and in 1938 she took a second degree in English at Radcliffe College. She was a civil servant, and also worked for Time magazine, before returning to the UK in 1947. Her works of fiction include historical novels and contemporary detective novels. In 1972 she renounced her United States citizenship and became a British subject.