Jennifer Paynter was born and educated in Sydney. She has previously written two stage plays: When Are We Going to Manly? (produced by the Griffin Theatre Company in 1984 and nominated for the 1984 Sydney Theatre Critics' Circle award and the 1985 New South Wales Premier's Literary Awards), and Balancing Act, produced by the Canberra Theatre Company in 1990 and adapted for radio by the ABC. The author of several anthologised short stories, she lives in Sydney. Mary Bennet is her first novel.