Katherine Beauchamp was born and grew up in Wellington, before going to England in 1903 to further her education. She returned to New Zealand in 1906 but, stifled by the conventionalism of her milieu, she returned permanently to Europe in 1908.
From then on, she lived in the UK and travelled widely in Europe, immersing herself in the literary world of the Bloomsbury Group. She continued writing stories, many set in New Zealand, from which her international reputation as a writer (under her pen-name Mansfield) arose.
Mansfield was at the forefront in developing techniques of narrative and viewpoint that are stock-in-trade for writers today. Dying of tuberculosis at 35, she expressed her dissatisfaction with her work and ambition for it. 'I want much more material,' she said. 'I am tired of my little stories like birds bred in cages.'
The Katherine Mansfield Birthplace in Thorndon is a place of pilgrimage for her admiring readers worldwide.