Mrs Orwell’s Invisible Life


'Truly wonderful... Anna Funder has written another brilliant human portrait.' - Claire Tomalin


Looking for wonder and some reprieve from the everyday, Anna Funder slips into the pages of her hero George Orwell. As she watches him create his writing self, she tries to remember her own . . .

When she uncovers his forgotten wife, it's a revelation. Eileen O'Shaughnessy's literary brilliance shaped Orwell's work and her practical nous saved his life. But why - and how - was she written out of the story?

Using newly discovered letters from Eileen to her best friend, Funder recreates the Orwells' marriage, through the Spanish Civil War and WW II in London. As she rolls up the screen concealing Orwell's private life she is led to question what it takes to be a writer - and what it is to be a wife.

Compelling and utterly original, Wifedom speaks to the unsung work of women everywhere today, while offering a breathtakingly intimate view of one of the most important literary marriages of the 20th century. It is a book that speaks to our present moment as much as it illuminates the past.

'Simply, a masterpiece. Here, Anna Funder not only re-makes the art of biography, she resurrects a woman in full. And this in a narrative that grips the reader and unfolds through some of the most consequential moments - historical and cultural - of the twentieth century.' Geraldine Brooks, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction


  • A marvelous book . . . I just loved it all, and have a permanently marked-up, dog-eared copy on my shelf for the next generation.
    Tom Hanks

About the author

Anna Funder

Anna Funder is the author of the international bestsellers Stasiland and All That I Am. In 2004 Stasiland won the Samuel Johnson Prize and, along with All That I Am, has been published in twenty-six countries. All That I Am won the Miles Franklin Award, and was a finalist for the International IMPAC Dublin Award and the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize. It was also chosen as a BBC Book of the Week and Book at Bedtime.

Anna was originally trained as an international human rights lawyer. She lives in Sydney.
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