UA Fanthorpe was born in Kent. She studied at Oxford and went on to train as a teacher. She became Head of English, at Cheltenham Ladies' College (1962–70). In 'middle age' she 'dropped out' of teaching after training as a counsellor and took a job as a clerk in a hospital for neuro-psychiatric patients. The shock of what she saw made her write – to give voice to what the patients were experiencing. Her first collection of poems, was published when she was 49. The poems themselves all show a deep compassion for ordinary people and a suspicion of authority.