A POET who was a candidate for the Nobel prize for literature has died aged 93.

Marjorie Boulton, who died on August 30, was a prolific author who produced prose, poems and plays in Esperanto, the international language invented by Ludovic Zamenhof in the 19th century.

As well as becoming an ambassador for and key figure in the post-war Esperanto community, she published, in the 1960s, what is considered to be the definitive biography of Zamenhof.

A teacher of literature, she also produced 16 books in English, often serving as introductions to literary forms like poetry and the novel.

Dr Boulton, who lived in Stockmore Street, East Oxford, and adored cats, was president of the Esperanto cat lovers' circle and active in the Oxford and District Cat Club.

She was born in Teddington, in south-west London, on May 7, 1924, to parents Harry and Evelyn.

Dr Boulton attended Barton-on-Humber grammar school in Lincolnshire before heading to Oxford to read English literature at Somerville College, where she was taught by CS Lewis and JRR Tolkien, a supporter of Esperanto.

She received her first class degree in 1944, returning to the university in 1971 to work on a doctorate, after which she turned to full-time research and writing.

After earning her degree in the mid 1940s, she taught English literature for many years in a teacher training college.

Dr Boulton eventually became principal of Charlotte Mason College, now part of the University of Cumbria, in Ambleside.

In 1949 she learned Esperanto.

According to Tim Owen of Esperanto-Asocio de Britio (Esperanto Association of Britain) her reason for learning the language was common in that time: she believed that a neutral common language would help facilitate world peace.

The language was created by Zamenhof, a Polish physician, in the late 19th century.

It is the most widely used constructed language.

The majority of Esperanto roots are based on Latin, though some vocabulary is taken from modern romance languages, and from English, German, Polish and Russian.

Her first Esperanto poetry collection, Kontralte, was published in 1955. Following that she wrote nearly 20 volumes of poetry, plays, letters and essays. A compilation of her complete works is expected to be published next year.

Ms Boulton's poetry reflected on the pleasures and the pathos of human existence.

She was known as a people’s poet, which contributed to her popularity and celebrity status.

In 2008 she was nominated for the Nobel Prize for Literature.

For many years she was director of the summer schools at Barlaston, served as president of two Esperanto organisations and was a member of the Esperanto Academy.

Her interests, as well as cats, included cookery and crossword compilations.