Enoch Arnold Bennett was born on 27th May 1867, in Hanley (one of six towns to be joined together at the beginning of the 20th century to become Stoke-on-Trent), Staffordshire, England.
Following his education in Newcastle-under-Lyme, Bennett began working for his father, often performing uncongenial tasks, like rent-collecting, and toiling for little pay. Bennett resented this and the theme of parental miserliness can be seen in his later works of fiction. He left his father's employment at the age of 21 to go and work in London as a solicitor's clerk.
In 1889, Bennett won a literary competition in Tit-bits magazine and this encouraged him to take up journalism as a career. By 1894 he was the assistant editor of the periodical Woman, a publication of which he would later become the editor. It was during this period that he began to write serials for the syndicate that supplied the magazine with material. However, it was in 1898 that he produced his first novel A Man from the North and two years later he retired from editorship to concentrate on writing full-time.
In 1903, Bennett moved to Paris to join the great artistic culture of Montmartre and Montparnasse. He spent eight years there writing novels and plays, the most notable of which was The Old Wives' Tale (1908) which became a huge hit throughout the English speaking world. Bennett stayed in France during the First World War and became the Director of Propaganda for France at the Ministry of Information, a position he acquired on the recommendation of Lord Beaverbrook. For his work, he was offered a knighthood in 1918, but refused to accept.
Bennett was married to a French woman, but the pair separated in 1921 and he went on to marry the actress Dorothy Cheston, with whom he stayed for the rest of his life. Though the couple never married, she took the name Bennett and they had one daughter, Virginia, together. Bennett died of typhoid in London, on 27th March 1931, and is buried at Burslem cemetery.