I was born SYBIL MENCE, half German, half English, in London in 1938. My German grandmother, Anna Haag, a pacifist feminist socialist had been placed under Schreibverbot during the Nazi dictatorship. And my German mother was classified as an `enemy alien naturalized by marriage' in Britain as soon as WWII broke out.

My family emigrated in 1948 to Christchurch, New Zealand where I went to Christchurch Girls’ High School and had my first University education at the University of Canterbury. In 1960 I returned to London with a postgraduate Commonwealth scholarship to study under Barbara Hardy at Birkbeck College, University of London. In December 1961 I married the educationist Derek Oldfield, and I then taught English and Women's History for nearly forty years at the new University of Sussex from its foundation.

I am now Research Reader in English at Sussex, and Hon. Research Associate of The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.  I have been active in the psychological disarmament side of the anti-war movement since the 1960s. Now widowed, with four children and ten grand-children, my short memoir trying to connect my life and writing, `Humanistic Feminism: Thinking Back Through Our Grandmothers`, will be published in The Women’s History Review, October 2010.

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