(1640-1689) English novelist and playwright, the first woman in England to earn her living as a writer. Her writings were criticized for their explicitness; they frequently present events from a woman’s point of view. Her novel Oroonoko 1688 is an attack on slavery.
Between 1670 and 1687 fifteen of her plays were produced, including The Rover, which attacked forced and mercenary marriages. She had the patronage of James I and was employed as a government spy in Holland 1666.