WILLIAM WILKIE COLLINS (1824–1889) was an English novelist, playwright, and short story writer, best-known for The Woman in White and The Moonstone, two novels which are commonly thought to have founded the 'sensation novel' and the modern English detective novel, respectively. Born into the family of painter William Collins in London, he lived with his family in Italy and France as a child and learned French and Italian. He worked as a clerk for a tea merchant. After his first novel, Antonina, was published in 1850, he met Charles Dickens, who became a close friend, mentor and collaborator. Some of Collins's works were first published in Dickens' journals All the Year Round and Household Words and the two collaborated on drama and fiction. Collins published his best known works in the 1860s, achieved financial stability and an international reputation that endures to this day.