Hannah Cowley was born Hannah Parkhouse on March 14th, 1743, the daughter of Hannah (n e Richards) and Philip Parkhouse, a bookseller in Tiverton, Devon. As one might expect details of much of her life are scant and that of her early life almost non-existent. However, we do know that she married Thomas Cowley and that the couple moved to London where Thomas worked as an official in the Stamp Office and as a part-time journalist. Her career in the literary world seemed to happen rather late. It was whilst the couple were attending a play, thought to be sometime in late 1775, that Cowley was struck by a sudden necessity to write. Her first play, a comedy called The Runaway was sent to the famed actor-manager, David Garrick. It was produced at his final season at the Drury Lane theatre on February 15th, 1776. It was a success. She wrote her next two plays, the farce, Who's the Dupe? and the tragedy, Albina, before the year was out. Getting these two plays into production took much longer and involved a very public spat with her rival Hannah More over whether Cowley's works had been plagarised by More. Cowley wrote her most popular comedy in 1780; The Belle's Stratagem. It was staged at Covent Garden. Her next play, The World as It Goes; or, a Party at Montpelier (the title was later changed to Second Thoughts Are Best) was unsuccessful, but she continued to write and there followed another seven plays; Which is the Man?; A Bold Stroke for a Husband; More Ways Than One; A School for Greybeards, or, The Mourning Bride; The Fate of Sparta, or, The Rival Kings; A Day in Turkey, or, The Russian Slaves and The Town Before You. In 1801 Cowley published perhaps her greatest poetical work. A six-book epic "The Siege of Acre: An Epic Poem." That same year Cowley retired to Tiverton in Devon, where she spent her remaining years out of the public spotlight whilst she quietly revised her plays. Hannah Cowley died of liver failure on March 11th, 1809.