Winifred Ellerman Bryher
Bryher, née Winifred Ellerman, (1894-1983) was an author, philanthropist and activist who published several historical novels, of which Beowulf is the first, originally published in France in 1948 and subsequently in English in 1956 by Pantheon Books. Her other historical novels include The Roman Wall, Coin of Carthage, and The Player’s Boy, as well as two memoirs, A Heart to Artemis and Days of Mars. She adopted the name Bryher after an island off the coast of England in order to disguise her gender as a writer. In addition to her own work, Bryher was best known as the lifelong companion of the imagist poet H.D.. Lesser known is the fact that before and during World War II, Bryher assisted a great number of artists, writers and psychologists to escape from Nazi-held territories, among them Sigmund Freud, Thomas Mann, Walter Benjamin, Max Ernst, and many others. She also wrote and co-directed with her husband Kenneth Macpherson the avant garde silent film “Borderline,” that starred Paul Robeson and H.D. Bryher and MacPherson co-founded the first english-language publication devoted to film criticism and theory, “Contact.” She lived in Vevey, Switzerland.