LYALL, EDNA, the pen-name of Ada Ellen Bayly (1857–1903), English novelist. She was born at Brighton in 1857, the daughter of a barrister. Her parents died while she was a child, and she was brought up at Caterham, Surrey. At Eastbourne, where most of her life was spent, she was well known for her philanthropic activity. She died on the 8th of February 1903. Edna Lyall’s vogue as a novelist was the result of a combination of the story-teller’s gift with a sincere ethical and religious spirit of Christian tolerance, which at the time was new to many readers. Though her Won by Waiting (1879) had some success, it was with Donovan (1882) and We Two (1884), in which the persecuted atheist was inevitably identified with Charles Bradlaugh, that she became widely popular. Other novels were In the Golden Days (1885), a story of the Great Rebellion; Knight Errant (1887); Autobiography of a Slander (1887); A Hardy Norseman (1889); Derrick Vaughan, The Story of a Novelist (1889); To Right the Wrong (1892); Doreen (1894), a statement of the case for Irish Home Rule; The Autobiography of a Truth (1896), the proceeds of which were devoted to the Armenian Relief Fund; In Spite of All (1901), which had originally been produced by Mr Ben Greet as a play; and The Bruges Letters (1902), a book for children.
A Life by J. N. Escreet appeared in 1904, and a shorter account of her by the Rev. G. A. Payne was printed at Manchester in 1903.