Mabel Winifred [pseuds. May Wynne, Lester Lurgan] Knowles(1875–1949), popular writer and church worker, was born at "Ribblesdene", Leigham Court Road, Streatham, London, on 1 January 1875, the second daughter of William Knowles, a London merchant banker, and his wife, Emma Letitia Paxton.
She was educated at home, and she remained single throughout her life.
Knowles's first books were essentially religious and rather old-fashioned. Life's Object(1899). During the next decade, however, Knowles became skilled in two genres that proved widely popular with girls and women, eventually publishing more than 200 books as well as stories for Cassell's Family Magazine, Lady's Realm, Pall Mall Magazine, and other periodicals. Under the pen-name May Wynne she became known as a writer of safe but thrilling historical romances.
May Wynne also produced more than a hundred children's books. The most interesting gave contemporary girls their own opportunities for peril and bravery. An English Girl in Serbia (1916), among others, used the First World War as a setting. Dozens of school and guide adventures also emphasized courage.
Between 1910 and 1913, before perfecting the formulas that made May Wynne popular, Knowles published under the name Lester Lurgan six science-fiction or detective novels, including Bohemian Blood (1910) and A Message from Mars (1912). In addition, some of her historical novels were made into films.