A WINCHESTER academic has delved into the life of one of the world's most cherished children's authors.

Nadia Cohen, who lectures journalism at the city's university, is the author of the The Real Beatrix Potter.

The new book is a revealing biography into the lady behind the famous little white books.

Born into a typically repressed Victorian family it was assumed that Beatrix would achieve little more than finding a rich husband.

But the Potters underestimated their daughter, who educated herself in art, science, and the natural world.

The success of Peter Rabbit proved her to be creative genius who could have become the toast of the London literary scene, but when her fiancé died Beatrix retreated moved to the Lake District where she reinvented herself as a successful farmer, a businesswoman and an early environmental pioneer.

Passionately campaigning to save the area from development she helped establish the National Trust and despite great wealth she lived out her days in anonymity.

The Real Beatrix Potter is £14.99 and available from online.

Nadia Cohen is an author who has written numerous historical and contemporary biographies.

This is the latest in a series of in-depth biographies about apparently whimsical children's story tellers who actually hid a darker side behind the public facade.

Others in the series include The Extraordinary Life of AA Milne, The Real Roald Dahl and The Real Enid Blyton.

As an entertainment reporter she worked at various newspapers and magazines in London and New York, covering films, festivals, premieres and award ceremonies around the world.