Girl, Balancing
  • Girl, Balancing

  • Helen Dunmore

    Haunting, uplifting, beautiful: the final work from Helen Dunmore

    Helen Dunmore passed away in June 2017, leaving behind this remarkable collection of short stories. With her trademark imagination and gift for making history human, she explores the fragile ties between passion, love, family, friendship and grief, often through people facing turning points in their lives:

    A girl alone, stretching her meagre budget to feed herself, becomes aware that the young man who has come to see her may not be as friendly as he seems.

    Two women from very different backgrounds enjoy an unusual night out, finding solace in laughter and an unexpected friendship.

    A young man picks up his infant son and goes outside into a starlit night as he makes a decision that will inform the rest of his life.

    A woman imprisoned for her religion examines her faith in a seemingly literal and quietly original way.

    This brilliant collection of Helen Dunmore’s short fiction, replete with her penetrating insight into the human condition, is certain to delight and move all her readers.

Helen Dunmore was an award-winning novelist, children’s author and poet who will be remembered for the depth and breadth of her fiction. Rich and intricate, yet narrated with a deceptive simplicity that made all of her work accessible and heartfelt, her writing stood out for the fluidity and lyricism of her prose, and her extraordinary ability to capture the presence of the past. Her first novel, Zennor in Darkness, explored the events which led D. H. Lawrence to be expelled from Cornwall on suspicion of spying, and won the McKitterick Prize. Her third novel, A Spell of Winter, won the inaugural Orange Prize for Fiction in 1996, and she went on to become a Sunday Times bestseller with The Siege, which was described by Antony Beevor as a ‘world-class novel’ and was shortlisted for the Whitbread Novel of the Year and the Orange Prize. Published in 2010, her eleventh novel, The Betrayal, was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize and shortlisted for the Orwell Prize and the Commonwealth Writers Prize, and The Lie in 2014 was shortlisted for the Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction and the 2015 RSL Ondaatje Prize. Her final novel, Birdcage Walk, deals with legacy and recognition – what writers, especially women writers, can expect to leave behind them – and was described by the Observer as ‘the finest novel Helen Dunmore has written’. She died in June 2017, and in January 2018, she was posthumously awarded the Costa Prize for her volume of poetry, Inside the Wave.