Born in Edinburgh in 1932, Joan Lingard was brought up in Belfast where she lived until she was eighteen. She began her career as an author in 1963 and in 1970 wrote her first novel for young people, The Twelfth Day of July. This was the first book in a series about the characters Kevin and Sadie, a couple trying to lead their lives against the backdrop of the Troubles in Northern Ireland. The book and the subsequent titles Across the Barricades (1972), Into Exile (1973), A Proper Place (1975) and Hostages to Fortune (1976) proved to be hugely successful, selling in excess of a million copies and being reprinted many times. Joan Lingard was awarded an MBE for services to children's literature in 1998.
The Linen Hall holds original draft manuscripts of The Twelfth Day of July, Across the Barricades, Into Exile, A Proper Place, Hostages to Fortune and The File on Fraulein Berg published in 1980 which are available to consult at the Library.