Johanna Spyri was born in a country village in Switzerland in 1827. Her father was a doctor and she had five brothers and sisters. Later she moved to the capital Zurich to go to school and she eventually settled there with her husband Bernhard,who was a lawyer. Johanna began writing in 1871 and wrote many stories which quickly became very popular. Her husband and son both died tragically in 1884, but Johanna consoled herself with charity work and writing, as well as looking after her orphaned niece. She died in her Swiss village home in 1903. Heidi is Johanna Spyri's best known and most popular novel - it has been translated from German into over fifty languages and over fifty million copies have been sold worldwide.