Llewelyn Powys was born in Dorchester, Dorset, the eighth child in a family that included the novelists John Cowper Powys and T. F. Powys. He grew up in Somerset, and was educated at Sherborne School and Cambridge University. At 25 he contracted tuberculosis and spent many years abroad in drier climates. He first made his name as a writer with Black Laughter and Skin for Skin, and spent most of the 1930s in England writing for numerous journals, gathering some of his pieces into the collections Earth Memories, Dorset Essays and Somerset Essays. With these he established a reputation as one of the most eloquent and thought-provoking writers of his time. His last three years were spent in Switzerland where he finished his autobiographical novel Love and Death, published shortly before he died. His ashes are interred on a Dorset cliff top and marked by a memorial stone.