Rosemary Dinnage spent her early childhood in Rhodes House, Oxford, the family home. This period of her life is described in vivid detail in her recently-published memoir, The Long Vacation. The outbreak of the Second World War was to bring about her separation from this home. In 1940, a Nazi invasion was expected on a daily basis. Like many other English children she was sent as far away as possible - across a submarine-infested Atlantic to Toronto in Canada. Child evacuees often found such experiences disruptive as well as enriching. At the age of fifteen, and before the second wave of bombing of the War, she found a passage back to Europe via neutral Portugal. In a luxury hotel, she and other refugees awaited the troop carrier that was to carry them to the waters of Poole harbour.
Rosemary Dinnage studied English at Oxford. On graduation, she was told to aim no higher than the typing pool - a common piece of advice offered to female graduates at the time. She took her typing skills to UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) in Paris and FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations) in Rome. In spite of her love of travel she came back to marry and have two children.
When her marriage crashed, Dinnage found herself a single parent in the austere 1950s. Hard times lay ahead. Stumbling through psychoanalysis taught her a lot that was to prove useful when she started reviewing Freudian texts and became a literary critic for the Times Literary Supplement and the New York Review of Books. She brought out several books: a biography of the social reformer Annie Besant, two collections of interviews and a study of 'outsider' women. She has contributed chapters on writers as diverse as John Updike and Franz Kafka.
A long and varied life has made Dinnage an explorer - not just of places and books, but of fringe ideas that have attracted her - Buddhist theology, Indian myths, paranormal research. One of the worst things about old age, she says, is being unable to remember dreams. 'They always connected up the bits of my life for me', she has said. Files of research on dreaming still await publication.