Kenneth Grahame was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, on 8 March 1859. Excelling in both academic and sports pursuits whilst attending St. Edward's School in Oxford, Grahame did not continue on with his dream of a university education due to financial constraints. In 1879 Grahame obtained a position within the Bank of England as a gentleman clerk but he found the routine so dulling that, from his rooms on Bloomsbury Street, turned his pen to writing stories. His first published story was titled By A Northern Furrow (1888), and his most famous short story is, still, "The Reluctant Dragon" (1898).
Grahame's works The Golden Age (1895) and it's sequel Dream Days (1898) were met with critical acclaim. A year after Grahame was appointed secretary of the Bank of England and he married Elspeth Thomson, with whom he had a son, Alastair. Through his works, Grahame re-created the idyllic and fantastical times from his own childhood and hoped to entertain his son and other children with them for children are "the only really living people".
Due to health problems, Grahame retired from the bank in 1907 and the family moved to the countryside in Blewbury. This gave Grahame time to travel and concentrate on his writing efforts, and The Wind in the Willows was published just a year later. A few years later, on 7 May 1920, Alastair was found dead by railway tracks near Oxford, possibly having committed suicide. Grahame was profoundly grieved and became reclusive.
Kenneth Grahame died at his home on the 6th of July 1932, at the age of 73. He now rests with his wife and son in the St. Cross Church cemetery in Oxford, England. His headstone reads "To the beautiful memory of Kenneth Grahame, husband of Elspeth and father of Alastair, who passed the River on 6 July 1932, leaving childhood and literature through him more blest for all time."