Hoult, Eleanor Lucy (‘Norah’) (1894–1984), novelist, was born 20 September 1898 at Ardilaun Villas, Ballymount, Dublin, daughter of Powis Hoult, architect, and Margaret Hoult (née O'Shaughnessy). Both parents died in her early childhood and she was educated at Dr Williams's Academy and a series of English boarding schools. She lived in 39 Horseferry Road, Westminster, throughout the 1920s, visiting on occasion her mother's family in Dublin. Gaining popular and critical success with her first book, Poor women! (1928), she married the English writer Oliver Stoner in 1929. She continued to visit Ireland and spent time in London and Folkestone before separating from her husband in 1933 to take up lodgings at 43 Upper Rathmines Road, Dublin. A regular literary reviewer for Time and Tide, the New Statesman, and John O'London's, she also wrote for the Dublin Magazine, whose editor Seumas O'Sullivan (qv) was a friend. Holy Ireland (1935) is the first of only two of her novels set in Ireland. Its sequel, Coming to the fair (1937), appeared the same year she travelled to New York, where she stayed for two years, with visits to Boston and New Mexico. Returning to London in September 1939, she spent her time between 85 Kensington Gardens Square and West Horrington, near Wells, Somerset. She met Oliver St John Gogarty (qv) in London in 1945 and the city remained a common setting for her work. Selected stories (1946) investigates London's less known aspects, with prostitutes and clients just surviving at the margins of civil society. Ireland may never have been a main theme of her work, but its presence does surface: Journey into print (1954), for example, is a murder mystery that revolves around a TCD graduate's London school of journalism. She returned to Ireland in 1957 and spent the rest of her life in relative solitude at Jonquil Cottage, Greystones, Co. Wicklow, earning a modest income from her writing. In declining health, she was moved to a Dublin nursing home shortly before her death on 6 April 1984. She destroyed all her papers, but two sets of manuscripts that include some drafts of her novels, kept by Oliver Stoner, are in the possession of TCD library.
TCD, MSS 9893–4; Ulick O'Connor, Oliver St John Gogarty (1964); I. R. Willison (ed.), The new Cambridge bibliography of English literature (1972); J. B. Lyons, Oliver St John Gogarty (1980); Times, 13 Apr. 1984