Best known as a novelist, poet, and biographer, Elaine Feinstein (née Elaine Coolin) was born on 24 October 1930 to a family with origins in the Russian-Jewish diaspora. Raised in Leicester and educated at Newnham College, Cambridge, she became a university lecturer at the University of Exeter. She excelled at writing poetry, penned 14 novels since her debut, The Circle (1970), and many successful biographies. Her trademark is the cultural exchange with Russian literature, to which she has contributed many biographies and translations. Feinstein’s dramatic work was created mainly in the 1980s and 1990s. It includes many radio plays and television dramas, such as the Play for Today Breath (1975) and the BBC production Lunch (directed by Jon Amiel). In the theatre, she wrote a contemporary adaptation of King Lear, entitled Lear’s Daughters (1987), which was developed in cooperation with the Women’s Theatre Group.