Search: Penelope Lively

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A Country of Refuge

Lucy Popescu (Edited by)

A Country of Refuge is a poignant, thought-provoking and timely anthology of writing on asylum seekers from some of Britain and Ireland’s most influential voices.

Compiled and edited by human rights activist and writer Lucy Popescu, this powerful collection of short fiction, memoir, poetry and essays explores what it really means to be a refugee: to flee from conflict, poverty and terror; to have to leave your home and family behind; and to undertake a perilous journey, only to arrive on less than welcoming shores.

These writings are a testament to the strength of the human spirit. The contributors articulate simple truths about migration that will challenge the way we think about and act towards the dispossessed and those forced to seek a safe place to call home.


‘A powerful, and frequently harrowing, collection … I read it with fascination’ – Penelope Lively

‘A beautiful insight into the painful individuality of the refugee’ – Jon Snow

Foreign Affairs

Alison Lurie (Author)

'Vinnie Miner, 54-year-old Anglophile professor, is in London on a six-month foundation grant. So is her young colleague, Fred Turner. Vinnie is plain and resignedly self-reliant; Fred is arrestingly handsome and moping after a breakup with his wife. Vinnie and Fred have love affairs in London. Fred's is a fraught liaison with a waitress while Vinnie drifts into a relationship with an engineer from Oklahoma she met on the plane, a brash uneducated stereotypical American who finally beguiles her (and the reader) with his uncomplicated goodness... I devoured the book at a sitting and then went back for a second dip at once' Penelope Lively, Sunday Telegraph

Private Papers

Margaret Forster (Author)

To Penelope Butler the family was all, the sole ambition of her adult life. Three of her four daughters, however, had different ideas. Rosemary rejected it; Jess was destroyed by it; Celia found it eluded her. Only Emily pursued her mother's ideal, with disastrous results.

Penelope begins to record their family story as it unfolds. But when Rosemary discovers these private papers she is enraged by her mother's distortions of the truth and proceeds to tell the story from her perspective. From D-Day on into the turbulent post-war years, a picture emerges not only of a single family in all its complexities, but also of the changing world that shaped their lives.

Shaken and Stirred

Diana Secker Tesdell (Edited by)

In this lively collection, wine snobs receive their comeuppance at the hands of Roald Dahl and Edgar Allan Poe; innocents over-imbibe in tales by Jack London and Alice Munro; riotous partying exacts a comic price in stories by P. G. Wodehouse and Kingsley Amis; Charles Jackson and Jean Rhys chronicle liquor-soaked epiphanies; while John Cheever, Vladimir Nabokov and Robert Coover set their characters afloat on surreal, soul-revealing adventures. Here, too, are well-lubricated tales by Dickens, Twain, Beckett, Colette, Dorothy Parker, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Doris Lessing, Frank O'Connor, Penelope Lively, and many more.

The settings include hotels and restaurants, a wine cellar in Italy, a café in Paris, a bar in Dublin, a New York nightclub, Jazz Age speakeasies, suburban lawn parties and the occasional gaol cell, and are peopled by lovers and loners, barmen and chorus girls, youths taking their first sips and experienced tipplers nursing hangovers.

Whether living it up or drowning their sorrows, the vividly drawn characters in these sparkling pages will leave you shaken and stirred.

Ghost Stories

Tales about ghosts are as old as human culture itself but the ghost story as a distinguished literary form reached its apogee in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. As traditional religions declined in the West during those years, people looked for new ways of describing the spiritual realities explained by religion. The ghost story is a literary expression of this need, its rise corresponding to the growing popularity of Spiritualism. Ghost stories balance the increasingly powerful scientific materialism of the age with intimations that there are other orders of experience which we cannot define and only glimpse.
The Everyman selection of ghost stories includes examples from this period by major writers such as Robert Louis Stevenson, Guy de Maupassant, Henry James and Edith Wharton. M. R. James is featured as a specialist in the genre. Later writers include Elizabeth Bowen, Penelope Lively and Ray Bradbury.
One feature of this collection is to show that there is more to the ghost story than the thrill of horror, important though that is. These stories include comedy and tragedy, pathos, drama and even poetry. Each is a masterpiece in its own right, irrespective of whether or not we believe in the realm of spectres.

Life Class

Pat Barker (Author)

Life Class is the first novel in Pat Barker's Life Class Trilogy - a powerful and unforgettable story of art and war

Spring, 1914. The students at the Slade School of Art gather in Henry Tonks's studio for his life-drawing class. But for Paul Tarrant the class is troubling, underscoring his own uncertainty about making a mark on the world. When war breaks out and the army won't take Paul, he enlists in the Belgian Red Cross just as he and fellow student Elinor Brooke admit their feelings for one another. Amidst the devastation in Ypres, Paul comes to see the world anew - but have his experiences changed him completely?

'Triumphant, shattering, inspiring' The Times

'Barker writes as brilliantly as ever . . . with great tenderness and insight she conveys a wartime world turned upside down'Independent on Sunday

'Vigorous, masterly, gripping' Penelope Lively, Independent

'Extraordinarily powerful' Sunday Telegraph

Other titles in the trilogy:
Toby's Room
Noonday

The Colour of Milk

Nell Leyshon (Author)

The Colour of Milk is the new novel by Orange longlisted author and playwright Nell Leyshon.

'this is my book and i am writing it by my own hand'

The year is eighteen hundred and thirty one when fifteen-year-old Mary begins the difficult task of telling her story. A scrap of a thing with a sharp tongue and hair the colour of milk, Mary leads a harsh life working on her father's farm alongside her three sisters. In the summer she is sent to work for the local vicar's invalid wife, where the reasons why she must record the truth of what happens to her - and the need to record it so urgently - are gradually revealed.

'Haunting, distinctive voices... Mary's spare simple words paint brilliant pictures in the reader's mind . . . Nell Leyshon's imaginative powers are considerable' Independent

'Brontë-esque undertones . . . a disturbing statement on the social constraints faced by 19th-century women' FT

'A small tour de force - a wonderfully convincing voice, and a devastating story told with great skill and economy' Penelope Lively

'I loved it. The Colour of Milk is charming, Brontë-esque, compelling, special and hard to forget. I loved Mary's voice - so inspiring and likeable. Such a hopeful book' Marian Keyes

'Brilliant, devastating and unforgettable' Easy Living

Nell Leyshon's first novel, Black Dirt, was longlisted for the Orange Prize, and shortlisted for the Commonwealth prize. Her plays include Comfort me with Apples, which won an Evening Standard Award, and Bedlam, which was the first play written by a woman for Shakespeare's Globe. She writes for BBC Radio 3 and 4, and won the Richard Imison Award for her first radio play. Nell was born in Glastonbury and lives in Dorset.

The River

Tricia Wastvedt (Author)

The Orange Prize long listed debut novel by the author of The German Boy

In 1958, in a small Devon village, on an idyllic summer afternoon, two children are drowned. Their parents, Isabel and Robert, are overcome with grief but, as time passes, their tragedy becomes part of the everyday fabric of village life.

One summer's day, thirty years later, Anna arrives. She comes to the village on a whim, hoping to start afresh - and, without telling anyone she is pregnant, goes to live with Isabel. For a time the women find solace in each other's company, but the baby's arrival causes powerful feelings of loss and heartbreak to surface, and Anna must question whether Isabel's feelings towards her child are entirely benign. . .

'Wastvedt, like Alice Sebold in The Lovely Bones, casts a wide net that goes beyond the immediate family. Captivating and evocative' Toronto Globe and Mail

'Accomplished, dramatic, with a finale that Du Maurier herself would have been proud of' Daily Mail

'Moving, impressive, strongly atmospheric. A remarkable achievement' Penelope Lively

Born in 1954, Patricia Wastvedt grew up in Blackheath, south London, and spent her summers in Kent. She has a degree in Creative Arts and an MA in Creative Writing, and her first novel, The River, written in her late forties, was long-listed for the Orange Prize. Her second novel, The German Boy, is available in Penguin. She teaches at Bath Spa University, and is also a manuscript editor. She lives and writes in a cottage in Somerset.

22 Britannia Road

Amanda Hodgkinson (Author)

22 Britannia Road by Amanda Hodgkinson is a heartbreaking and powerful novel about wartime secrets and the difficulties of adjusting to postwar life

It is 1946 and Silvana and eight-year-old Aurek board a ship that will take them from Poland to England. Silvana has not seen her husband Janusz in six years, but, they are assured, he has made them a home in Ipswich.

However, after living wild in the forests for years, carrying a terrible secret, all Silvana knows is that she and Aurek are survivors. Everything else is lost. While Janusz, a Polish soldier who has criss-crossed Europe during the war, hopes his family will help put his own dark past behind him.

But the war and the years apart will always haunt each of them unless they together confront what they were compelled to do to survive.


'The characters are so convincing and the writing's so unshowily accomplished that it soon becomes something gripping. An admirable debut' Daily Mail

'A most accomplished first novel. Powerful story-telling and entirely convincing in its evocation of post-war England. Very good' Penelope Lively

'Keep your Kleenex handy reading 22 Britannia Road' Grazia

'An affecting story, extremely well told' The Times


Amanda Hodgkinson was born in Burnham-on-Sea in Somerset and grew up in Essex and Suffolk.
She currently lives in south-west France with her husband and two daughters. 22 Britannia Road is her first novel.

The Minotaur

Barbara Vine (Author)

The Minotaur - a thrilling novel from the bestselling queen of crime Barbara Vine

Kerstin Kvist enters crumbling Lydstep Old Hall to live with the Cosways and to act as nurse to John: a grown man fed drugs by his family to control his lunatic episodes. But John's strangeness is grotesquely mirrored in that of his four sisters who roam the dark, mazy Essex country house under the strict gaze of eighty-year-old Mrs Cosway.

Despite being treated as an outsider, Kerstin is nevertheless determined to help John. But she soon discovers that there are others in the family who are equally as determined that John remain isolated, for sinister reasons of their own ...

'The reader is kept in suspense throughout . . . vintage wine from the Rendell vine' Independent

'The Cosway family is a mesmerizing creation... I rushed through the last pages' Penelope Lively, Sunday Times

'Stealthy, credible, ingenious and addictive' Literary Review

'The Rendell/ Vine partnership has for years been producing consistently better work than most Booker winners put together' Ian Rankin

The Minotaur is a modern masterpiece of the crime genre and will leave you gripped from the first page to the last. If you enjoy the novels of P.D. James, Ian Rankin and Scott Turow, you will love this book.

Barbara Vine is the pen-name of Ruth Rendell. She has written fifteen novels using this pseudonym, including A Fatal Inversion and King Solomon's Carpet which both won the Crime Writers' Association Gold Dagger Award. Her other books include: A Dark Adapted Eye; The House of Stairs; Gallowglass; Asta's Book; No Night Is Too Long; In the Time of His Prosperity; The Brimstone Wedding; The Chimney Sweeper's Boy; Grasshopper; The Blood Doctor; The Minotaur; The Birthday Present and The Child's Child.

Watch the Lady

Elizabeth Fremantle (Author)

THE QUEEN'S GODDAUGHTER.
HER MOST TRUSTED MAID.
ADULTRESS.
ENEMY OF THE STATE.

WHO IS THE REAL PENELOPE DEVEREUX?

Penelope Devereux is a legendary beauty in the court of Elizabeth I, with a smile that would light up the shadows of hell. But it's not just her looks which have won her favour with the Queen wing; her canny instinct for being in the right place at the right time, and her skilled political manoeuvrings under the guise of diplomacy, have rendered her a formidable adversary to anyone who stands in her path. Including Elizabeth.

For Penelope must secure the future of the Devereux dynasty at whatever cost. Even treason. And the Queen, a woman she holds responsible for the death of her father, the exile of her mother and her failure to marry the one man she ever truly loved, is just one more pawn in a deadly game.

Walking the knife-edge of court, whilst ensuring that her reckless brother Essex remains the only star in the Queen's firmament - and out of the Tower - Penelope must plan for the inevitable succession of an ailing monarch.

But her secret letters of friendship to a foreign King - one who has a strong claim to the English throne - could see her illustrious family in the gutter and her own head on the block. It would only take a single mistake, a slip of the tongue, an intercepted message for Penelope to become the architect of her downfall.

In a world where sister is turned against brother, husband against wife, courtier against queen, the rules of the game are forever changing.


Discover the truth in Elizabeth Fremantle's stunning new novel about an extraordinary woman who helped change the course of England's history forever.


This sumptuous historical drama is perfect for fans of Philippa Gregory, Hilary Mantel and Jessie Burton.


Praise for Watch the Lady
'The research and historical detail are impeccable . . . and fans will enjoy this evocation of Elizabeth's tumultuous court' Times
'A glamourous tale peopled by warrior poets, flamboyant courtiers and shameless loves, it is also sharp, perceptive and dramatic' Sunday Express
'Be transported to the court of Elizabeth I, where Penelope Devereux is prepared to do anything in the scramble for power. Watch The Lady by Elizabeth Fremantle combines fast-paced storytelling with rich period detail' Good Housekeeping
'If you want an immersive read then this is it. The remarkable story of the beautiful Penelope Devereux comes vividly alive, bursting with colour and detail. The reader is transported to the perilous Elizabethan court, with all its plots, treachery and heartbreak, and gains fascinating insights into some of the most important figures of the time. Yet again Elizabeth Fremantle has produced a pacey, powerful narrative that kept this reader riveted throughout' Jane Thynne
'Penelope Devereux, perspicacious, beautiful and muse of Sir Philip Sidney, will stop at nothing for the sake of her family. I was gripped by the tale of risky political and sexual shenanigans in the court of Elizabeth l' Woman and Home
'Penelope is a fascinating character and beautifully drawn in this enthralling, moving and immaculately written novel... Fremantle handles the intriguing with aplomb and it's impossible to read the books without feeling you are living events alongside the characters' Imogen Robertson, Historia
'Fascinating . . . it's a delight to keep Penelope company as she plunges into the intrigues of Elizabeth's court' The History Girls
'Ever since Queen's Gambit took the world of historical fiction by storm 3 years ago, Liz Fremantle's books have been the ones to watch in the world of Tudor fiction. The combination of depth, intelligence and real historical imagination that she brings to bear on the lesser-known (but immensely powerful) women of the Tudor era is unmatched in contemporary writing and gets better with each book. Not that either of the previous ones were sub par - far from it, they were exceptional - but, as with all good writers, the apprenticeship of each book sees its realisation in the one that comes after it and there's a steady rise in the textures and depths and many-layered plot threads. The Lady we watch here is Penelope, sister of the notorious Essex, wife of a man who doesn't want to bed her, lover of those who do - though never the most important one: that love is unrequited and all the more powerful for it. The machinations of Elizabeth's court were never easy, but became positively frenetic as she edged towards death and refused to name a successor and the way the ageing monarch plays Cecil against Essex, as seen through the eyes of the woman who has to navigate a clear path through the chaos is brilliant. In fact, the shift of viewpoint from Penelope to Cecil and back again is the core strength of this book. Neither is an entirely reliable narrator, even to themselves, but taken together, they mesh to make a hologram of a time in history that is endlessly fascinating, but never fully understood. This book is glorious. It will delight fans of Hilary Mantel and Philippa Gregory alike, but will also garner a whole new audience from those who just love good writing, whatever the genre, whatever the era' Manda Scott
'A wonderful, totally transporting novel that folds you into its world, word by word, page by page, and remains with you long after the last. I absolutely loved this book. Fremantle is a brilliant novelist' Eve Chase, author of Black Rabbit Hall

The Dangerous Edge Of Things

Candida Lycett Green (Author)

1949: one year in the childhood of Candida Lycett Green in the remote village of Farnborough in Berkshire. Here she lives with her father John Betjeman and her mother Penelope Chetwode, in one of the bleakest and highest spots on the windswept downland.Candida runs wild with the 'gang' of village children. Stimulated by regular excursions to the cinema in Wantage, Candida and her best friend June became fascinated by the idea of love. Their romantic imagination is fuelled by the beautiful Ruby Mason, who cleans the cottage of a reclusive scientist, Dr Fox, employed at the neighbouring Harwell Atomic Research Centre. They stealthily engineer a romance between the two - until it is revealed that none of the children's special adult friends are what they seem, and the real world shockingly intervenes to overturn their innocence.

All Our Wrong Todays

Elan Mastai (Author)

So, the thing is, I come from the world we were supposed to have.

That means nothing to you, obviously, because you live here, in the crappy world we do have.

But it never should've turned out like this. And it's all my fault - well, me and to a lesser extent my father.

And, yeah, I guess a little bit Penelope.

In both worlds, she's the love of my life. But only a single version of her can exist.

I have one impossible chance to fix history's greatest mistake and save this broken world.

Except it means saving one Penelope and losing the other forever - and I have absolutely no idea which to choose . . .

Praise for All Our Wrong Todays

'A thrilling tale of time travel and alternate timelines with a refreshingly optimistic view of humanity's future'
Andy Weir, author of international bestseller The Martian

'A novel about time travel has no right to be this engaging. A novel this engaging has no right to be this smart. And a novel this smart has no right to be this funny. Or insightful. Or immersive. Basically, this novel has no right to exist."
Jonathan Tropper, New York Times bestselling author of This Is Where I Leave You and One Last Thing Before I Go

'Elan Mastai has conjured up a witty and freewheeling time-traveling romance that packs an emotional wallop.All Our Wrong Todays is a page-turning delight'
Maria Semple, author of Today Will Be Different and Where'd You Go, Bernadette

The Old Ways

Robert Macfarlane (Author)

SHORTLISTED FOR THE SAMUEL JOHNSON PRIZE 2012
THE SUNDAY TIMES #3 BESTSELLER

The genre-defining book by acclaimed nature writer Robert Macfarlane: travel Britain's ancient paths and discover the secrets of this beautiful, underappreciated landscape

Following the tracks, holloways, drove-roads and sea paths that form part of a vast ancient network of routes criss-crossing the British Isles and beyond, Robert Macfarlane discovers a lost world - a landscape of the feet and the mind, of pilgrimage and ritual, of stories and ghosts; above all of the places and journeys which inspire and inhabit our imaginations.

'Really do love it. He has a rare physical intelligence and affords total immersion in place, elements and the passage of time: wonderful' Antony Gormley

'A marvellous marriage of scholarship, imagination and evocation of place. I always feel exhilarated after reading Macfarlane' Penelope Lively

'Macfarlane immerses himself in regions we may have thought familiar, resurrecting them newly potent and sometimes beautifully strange. In a moving achievement, he returns our heritage to us' Colin Thubron

'Every Robert MacFarlane book offers beautiful writing, bold journeys . . . With its global reach and mysterious Sebaldian structure, this is MacFarlane's most important book yet' David Rothenberg, author of Survival of the Beautiful and Thousand Mile Song

'Luminous, possessing a seemingly paradoxical combination of the dream-like and the hyper-vigilant, The Old Ways is, as with all of Macfarlane's work, a magnificent read. Each sentence can carry astonishing discovery' Rick Bass, US novelist and nature writer

'The Old Ways confirms Robert Macfarlane's reputation as one of the most eloquent and observant of contemporary writers about nature' Scotland on Sunday

'Sublime writing . . . sets the imagination tingling . . . Macfarlane's way of writing [is] free, exploratory, rambling and haphazard but resourceful, individual, following his own whims, and laying an irresistible trail for readers to follow' Sunday Times

'Macfarlane relishes wild, as well as old, places. He writes about both beautifully . . . I love to read Macfarlane' John Sutherland, Financial Times

'Read this and it will be impossible to take an unremarkable walk again' Metro

The Cazalets

Elizabeth Jane Howard (Author) , Sarah Daniels (Author) , Lin Coghlan (Author) , Full Cast (Read by), Penelope Wilton (Read by)

Penelope Wilton narrates BBC Radio 4’s epic dramatisation of the treasured family saga

Elizabeth Jane Howard’s five book chronicle of the upper-middle class Cazalet family begins in 1938, as siblings Hugh, Edward, Rupert and Rachel join together for another family holiday at Home Place, their house in the Sussex countryside.

During the course of The Light Years, Marking Time, Confusion, Casting Off and All Change, the progress of their lives, and those of their children, will be charted. As their stories unfolds we gain a vivid insight into the lives, hopes and loves of three generations during the Second Word War and beyond.

Dramatised by Sarah Daniels and Lin Coghlan, and with a large cast of actors across all five books, this remarkable radio event adds a new dimension to Elizabeth Jane Howard’s extraordinary chronicles. The first four Cazalet novels sold over a million copies, with the fifth being published in 2013, shortly before the author’s death.

North by Northamptonshire: Series 2

Katherine Jakeways (Author) , Full Cast (Read by), Mackenzie Crook (Read by), Penelope Wilton (Read by), Sheila Hancock (Read by)

The complete second series of Katherine Jakeways' heartwarming BBC Radio 4 comedy, starring Sheila Hancock as the Narrator.

Wadenbrook is a small market town in a corner of Northamptonshire, whose inhabitants live quiet but by no means uneventful lives. In these six episodes, as they build up to a Dickensian Festival weekend complete with mob caps, cravats and shawls which are usually used as cat blankets, narrator Sheila Hancock shines a light on their loves, laughs and loneliness.

Jan has Helen back home, but is it what she really wants? Meanwhile, a visiting choir sets the local ladies' hearts aflutter and Mary's dad, Norman, has an adventure of his own. Esther has a big question to ask Ken and Keith, and Angela and Helen both have news to divulge. And as the dawn of the festival brings chaos to Wadenbrook, love blossoms for a most unlikely couple...

Sheila Hancock is the Narrator of this funny and touching comedy series, also starring Mackenzie Crook, Kevin Eldon, Geoffrey Palmer, Penelope Wilton and Felicity Montagu. Duration: 3 hours.

Offshore, Human Voices, The Beginning Of Spring

Penelope Fitzgerald (Author), John Oliver Bayley (Introducer)

Sixty-one when she published her first novel, Penelope Fitzgerald based many subsequent books on the experiences of a long and varied life.

Offshore, which won the Booker Prize in 1979, explores her time living on a barge at Battersea Reach.

Human Voices takes place in the BBC where she worked during World War II. Both are vivid, intimate pictures of ordinary life, startling, sad and funny by turns, conjuring up complex worlds with the economy of poetry.

The Beginning of Spring is an historical novel operating on a larger canvas. It presents a life unknown to the author through a story of English émigrés in pre-Revolutionary Russia and has been described by one critic as the best ‘Russian’ novel of the twentieth century.

Written with energy, passion and wit, and each quite different from the others, all three of these masterpieces reveal a lightness of touch with the most serious matters unlike anything else in contemporary fiction.

Talking Heads 2

Alan Bennett (Author) , David Haig (Read by), Eileen Atkins (Read by), Julie Walters (Read by), Patricia Routledge (Read by), Penelope Wilton (Read by), Thora Hird (Read by)

Darker and more intense than the first collection, these six stories uncover the secrets behind ordinary suburban lives. From Patricia Routledge's Miss Fozzard, whose new chiropodist turns out to be rather peculiar, to Eileen Atkins' portryal of an antiques dealer who lets a masterpiece slip through her fingers, the characters come alive through Bennett's writing. These tales of desperation and loneliness are handled with the lightness of touch, compassion and shrewdly observed detail that have made Alan Bennett one of the country's best-loved writers. The stories included are: 'Miss Fozzard Finds Her Feet' read by Patricia Routledge; 'The Hand of God' read by Eileen Atkins; 'Playing Sandwiches' read by David Haig; 'The Outside Dog' read by Julie Walters; 'Nights in the Gardens of Spain' read by Penelope Wilton and 'Waiting for the Telegram' read by Thora Hird.

3 CDs. 3 hrs 22 mins.

Through the Window

Julian Barnes (Author)

In these seventeen essays (and one short story) the 2011 Man Booker Prize winner examines British, French and American writers who have meant most to him, as well as the cross-currents and overlappings of their different cultures. From the deceptiveness of Penelope Fitzgerald to the directness of Hemingway, from Kipling's view of France to the French view of Kipling, from the many translations of Madame Bovary to the fabulations of Ford Madox Ford, from the National Treasure Status of George Orwell to the despair of Michel Houellebecq, Julian Barnes considers what fiction is, and what it can do. As he writes in his preface, 'Novels tell us the most truth about life: what it is, how we live it, what it might be for, how we enjoy and value it, and how we lose it.'

When his Letters from London came out in 1995, the Financial Times called him 'our best essayist'. This wise and deft collection confirms that judgment.

The Pumpkin Eater by Penelope Mortimer

The Pumpkin Eater is a semi-autobiographical black comedy about family and love in 1960...

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