Born Kathleen Mansfield Beauchamp into a socially prominent family in Wellington, New Zealand. The daughter of a banker and born to a middle-class colonial family, she was also a first cousin of author Countess Elizabeth von Arnim. Mansfield had a lonely and alienated childhood. Her first published stories appeared in the High School Reporter and the Wellington Girls' High School magazine, in 1898 and 1899. She moved to London in 1902, where she attended Queen's College, London. A talented cellist, she was not at first attracted to literature, and after finishing her schooling in England, she returned to her New Zealand home in 1906. It was upon her return to New Zealand that Kathleen Beauchamp began writing short stories. Weary of the provincial New Zealand lifestyle, Beauchamp returned to London two years later in 1908.