Cicely (changed to Cicily) Isabel Fairfield (December 21, 1892–March 15, 1983), better known by her pen name Dame Rebecca West, DBE, was a British-Irish suffragist and writer famous for her novels, literary criticism, travel literature and for her relationship with H. G. Wells. A prolific, protean author, she wrote for The New Yorker, The New Republic, The Sunday Telegraph, and The New York Herald Tribune. She also was an important correspondent for The Bookman.
Read The Return of the Soldier, by Rebecca West, free from Google Books. She was born in London. Her father, an Irish journalist, deserted her Scottish mother while Cecily was still a child. The rest of the family moved to Edinburgh, Scotland, where she was educated at George Watson's Ladies College. She trained as an actress, taking the name "Rebecca West" from Rosmersholm by Henrik Ibsen. She became involved in the women's suffrage movement before World War I, and worked as a journalist on Freewoman and the Clarion. She met H. G. Wells in 1913, and their affair lasted ten years. They had a son, Anthony West, though Wells was still in his second marriage at that time. West is also said to have had affairs with Charlie Chaplin and newspaper magnate Max Beaverbrook.
In 1930 she married a banker, Henry Maxwell Andrews, and they remained together until his death in 1968. Before and during World War II, West travelled widely, collecting material for books on travel and politics. She was present at the Nuremberg trials. Her later work as a writer and broadcaster reflected these experiences.
She was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 1949, and was raised to Dame Commander (DBE) in 1959.
West is buried at Brookwood Cemetery, Woking, Surrey.