Charmian Clift was born in Kiama, New South Wales, on 31 August 1923. She became a journalist on the Melbourne Argus newspaper after the war, and in 1947 married novelist and journalist George Johnston.

Early in their marriage they collaborated on three novels: High Valley (which won the Sydney Morning Herald prize in 1948), The Big Chariot and The Sponge Divers. Then, in 1954, having lived in London for the previous few years, they took their family to live in the Greek islands. During this period Charmian wrote two accounts of their life there, Mermaid Singing and Peel Me a Lotus, and two novels, Honour’s Mimic and Walk to the Paradise Gardens.

In 1964 the family returned to Australia and Charmian began writing a weekly newspaper column which quickly gained a wide and devoted readership.

She died in 1969.