Born in 1893, Vera Brittain won an exhibition to Somerville College, Oxford, in 1914, but a year later abandoned her studies to enlist as a VAD nurse. She served throughout the war, working in London, Malta and close to the Front in France. At the end of the war, with all of those closest to her dead, she returned to Oxford. Vera Brittain was a convinced pacifist, a prolific speaker, lecturer, journalist and writer, she devoted much of her energy to the causes of peace and feminism. She wrote 29 books in all, novels, poetry, biography and autobiography, but it was Testament of Youth which established her reputation and made her one of the best-loved writers of her time. She died in 1970.