Poet and novelist Rita Mae Brown was born in Pennsylvania in 1944. She attended the University of Florida for a year and later earned a BA in English and classics from New York University, a certificate in cinematography from the School of the Visual Arts, and a PhD in political science from the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, D.C. A prolific writer of serial novels, including the “Mrs. Murphy” mystery series, novels about foxhunting, and the “Sister” Jane foxhunting mysteries, Brown is also the author of the acclaimed coming of age story Rubyfruit Jungle (1973).

Politically active in feminist concerns in the 1970s, Brown was associated with NOW until she questioned their lack of representation of gay women. She was a co-founder of the Student Homophile League and one of the founders of The Furies, a lesbian feminist collective that published The Furies: Lesbian / Feminist Monthly, a magazine where some of her early poetry appeared. Brown’s collections of poetry, including The Hand that Cradles the Rock (1971) and Songs to A Handsome Women (1973), express her radical feminist concerns.

Brown’s nonfiction publications include Starting from Scratch: A Different Kind of Writers’ Manual (1988), Memoir of a Literary Rabble-Rouser (1997), and Animal Magnetism: My Life with Creatures Great and Small (2009). She has also written screenplays.

Brown lives outside Charlottesville, Virginia with her many cats, dogs, and horses. An active horseback rider she was a founder of the women’s Blue Ridge Polo Club and is master of fox hounds at the Oak Ridge Fox Hunt Club. 

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