Elizabeth Spencer was born in Mississippi in 1921. Her first book, Fire in the Morning, was published in 1948, but it was the publication of The Light in the Piazza in 1960 that brought her widespread acclaim, becoming a New York Times bestseller and the basis of a major motion picture. Her writing is distinguished by fine craftsmanship and intense plotting that reveals the essential nature of the characters. She is a five-time recipient of the O. Henry Award for short fiction. She lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.