Claire Harman

All Sorts of Lives

All Sorts of Lives

Katherine Mansfield and the art of risking everything


** The Sunday Times Best Literary Book of 2023**
** A Waterstones Best Book of 2023**

'All Sorts of Lives is a beautiful, fastidiously researched and fascinating exploration of Mansfield's life and work' A.L. KENNEDY

Restless outsider, masher-up of form and convention, Katherine Mansfield’s career was short but dazzling. She was the only writer Virginia Woolf admitted being jealous of, yet by the 1950s was so undervalued that Elizabeth Bowen was moved to ask, 'Where is she – our missing contemporary?'

In this inventive and intimate study, Claire Harman takes a fresh look at Mansfield’s life and achievements, through the form she did so much to revolutionise: the short story. Exploring ten pivotal works, we watch how Mansfield’s desire to grow as a writer pushed her art into unknown territory, and how illness sharpened her extraordinary vitality: ‘Would you not like to try all sorts of lives – one is so very small.’

‘What a gift to the biographer, this life of adventure and sickness and sex and celebrity… Brilliant’ Sunday Times

‘A searching, incisive and compulsive book. A lesson in how to read and connect and understand’ Sunjeev Sahota