Louise Fitzhugh was born in Memphis, Tennessee in 1928, the only child of attorney Millsaps Fitzhugh and tap-dancer Louise Perkins. Her parents were divorced soon after she was born and Louise lived with her father, having virtually no contact with her mother. She attended a succession of schools and colleges then travelled around Europe, finally settling in New York and pursuing a career as an artist. She published 'Harriet the Spy', her first novel, to mixed reviews in 1964, but it has since been recognised as a children's classic. 'The Long Secret' followed in 1965 and 'Sport' was published posthumously in 1979. Louise Fitzhugh died suddenly in 1974, aged only 46.