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Hilary Foister Benford grew up in England. As a child, she experienced the blitz bombings of World War II around London. She has a degree in French literature from the University of London and also studied in Cambridge, Strasbourg and Paris. As a student, she worked various jobs in France as waitress, hotel receptionist, chambermaid and switchboard operator. She taught English at a French high school for a year and then taught French in both England and California. She married an American physicist and they have two children.
She co-authored Timescape with her brother-in-law Gregory Benford in 1980.
She has traveled extensively in 40 countries and still loves to travel. She has made a point of visiting all the sites where Joanna, sister of Richard Lionheart lived, from Fontevrault to the Holy Land, from Sicily to Toulouse. She has a lifelong interest in history, languages, the Middle Ages, and her hobbies include genealogy, cooking, crosswords and reading mysteries.
She currently lives with her husband in the San Francisco Bay Area.