One of my all-time favorites. After a lavender marriage to escape the Nazis and gain British citizenship, and after three unpublished novels imitating Aldous Huxley's style, Sybille Bedford traveled to Mexico, found her exceptional voice, and wrote her legendary A Visit to Don Otavio [Kindle]. Bruce Chatwin said of another book, “When the history of modern prose in English comes to be written, Mrs. Bedford will have to appear in any list of its most dazzling practitioners.” Bedford became friends with another wanderlust writer, Martha Gellhorn, and lovers with Eda Lord. She spent the 1950s to 70s loosely based in France, Italy, Britain, and Portugal.
She also wrote four novels, one of which was a Booker nominee. The best is A Legacy, covering two Austrian-German families leading up to WWI. The queerest is A Compass Error, about a teenage girl's affair with a married woman. The most commericial is Jigsaw, again mining her formative years for a story about a girl shuttled between her unconventional mother in Italy and her father's uptight family in England. In her 90s she finally wrote her memoir, Quicksands, which nearly as obliquely covers a lot of the same ground as her autobiographical novels, including her lesbian relationships. The finest essay about her is Joan Acocella's appreciation in the New Yorker.