Caffyn, Kathleen Mannington (née Hunt ) (c.1853–1926), novelist, also known by her pseudonym Iota , was born in Waterloo House, Thurles, Co. Tipperary, the daughter of William de Vere Hunt and his wife Louisa (née Going). Educated at home by English and German governesses, she moved about 1877 to London, where she trained as a nurse at St Thomas's Hospital and the Metropolitan Nursing Association. On 25 February 1879, at Chobham, Surrey, she married the surgeon and writer Stephen Mannington Caffyn (1851–96), with whom she had one son. In an attempt to improve her husband's poor health, they emigrated in 1880 to New South Wales and, after an initial period in Sydney, settled in Melbourne in 1883. Both took an active part in matters of public health. A keen advocate of nursing as ‘a scientific profession for educated gentlewomen’, she became a founder member of the District Nursing Society of Victoria and served on its committee for two years. She also pursued literary interests, publishing articles in local papers and magazines and contributing stories to Cooee: tales of Australian life by Australian ladies (1891), edited by Mrs Patchett Martin, and Lala Fisher's By creek and gully (1899).
In 1892 the Caffyns returned to London, where Kathleen began to publish under the pseudonym Iota. She achieved sensational success with her first novel, A yellow aster (1894), a free-thinking ‘new woman’ narrative condemned by critics for its traces of Ibsen and Zola. Though none equalled the success of her first, a further sixteen novels followed, mostly published after the death of her husband from phthisis on 2 October 1896. Several books, including Poor Max (1898) and Anne Mauleverer (1899), feature Irish horsewomen as heroines. Though she continued to endorse female liberation for many years, Caffyn's later publications reverted to Victorian stereotypes. An enthusiastic horsewoman, she was particularly interested in polo and hunting. She died 6 February 1926 in a nursing home in Turin.