'Clare Mallory' was a pseudonym of Winifred Constance McQuilkan Hall, a New Zealand children's author and educator who was born in 1913, in Invercargill. Educated at Southland Girls' High School, where she boarded after the death of both her parents in her early teens, she won a scholarship to Otago University, where she took first class honours in English, second class honours in Classics, the Macmillan Brown Prize, and a postgraduate scholarship to Oxford. It was at Otago that McQuilkan became friends with fellow writer Dan Davin
, as well as her future husband, Frank Hall, who would go on to study medicine.
After two years at Somerville College (1937-39), McQuilkan again took first honours in English, and returning to New Zealand, she taught at Otago Girls' High School, and, in 1942, became headmistress of Columba College, Dunedin. This experience as an educator undoubtedly lent an authenticity to her school stories, which she began to write during her tenure at Columba. They began as stories the author told to her students during parties held to organize parcels sent to England during World War II, with the first - Merry Begins
- being published in 1947.
In 1949, McQuilkan married Frank Hall, and accompanied him to England, where they lived in London. In 1952, the couple returned again to New Zealand, settling in Wellington, where the author taught at two girls' schools, and eventually, at Victoria University. She retired in 1978, was hospitalized for Alzheimer's Disease in 1986, and died in 1991.