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Jill Dawson is the author of TRICK OF THE LIGHT, MAGPIE, FRED AND EDIE, which was shortlisted for the Whitbread Novel Award and the Orange Prize, and WILD BOY, all published by Sceptre to critical acclaim. WATCH ME DISAPPEAR, her latest novel, will be published by Sceptre in March 2006. She is also an award-winning poet and has edited several anthologies including The Virago Book of Wicked Verse, and, with Margo Daly, Wild Ways. She was the British Council Fellow at Amherst College, Massachusetts, in 1997 and is currently the Royal Literary Fund Fellow in Writing at the University of East Anglia. Born in Durham, she now lives with her family in the Fens.
Photograph © Luke White
Fellow novelist Katharine McMahon on Jill Dawson...
The Great Lover is a novel about a poet, Rupert Brooke, that pushes past the cliches of tea on the lawn at Grantchester and takes an utterly fresh look at the poet. The writing is very clear and precise and makes for a fascinating read. And what's more, I was inspired to go and read Brooke's poetry too.
One heart, two lives...When a teenager dies in an accident in rural Cambridgeshire, it affords Patrick, a fifty-year-old professor, drinker and womaniser, the chance of a life-saving heart transplant. But as Patrick recovers, he has the odd feeling that his old life 'won't have him'. He becomes bewitched by the story of his heart, ever more curious about the boy who donated it, his ancestors, the Fenland he grew up in. What exactly has Patrick been given?
'Crime's a man's business. So they say. Who was that small figure then, slender enough to trot along the moonlit track, swift and low, virtually invisible? Who was it that covered the green signal with a glove to stop the train, while the two others took care of the driver and his mate? Could it have been one Queenie Dove, survivor of the Depression and the Blitz, not to mention any number of scrapes with the law?' Queenie Dove is a self-proclaimed genius when it comes to thieving and escape. Daring, clever and sexy, she ducked and dived through the streets of London from the East End through Soho to Mayfair, graduating from childhood shop-lifting to more glamorous crimes in the post-war decades. So was she wicked through and through, or more sinned against than sinning? Here she tells a vivacious tale of trickery and adventure, but one with more pain and heartbreak than its heroine cares to admit. Yes, luck often favoured her, but that is only part of the story.
Fact and fiction intertwine in this beautifully told story about a love affair between Rupert Brooke and a housemaid called Nell. Using diary entries, letters and poems Jill Dawson crafts a story that inspires the reader to want to read more about Brooke while enjoying an absorbing and mesmerising tale. April 2010 Guest Editor Katharine McMahon on Jill Dawson... The Great Lover is a novel about a poet, Rupert Brooke, that pushes past the cliches of tea on the lawn at Grantchester and takes an utterly fresh look at the poet. The writing is very clear and precise and makes for a fascinating read. And what's more, I was inspired to go and read Brooke's poetry too. Reviewed on Richard & Judy on Wednesday 10 June 2009. February 2009 Good Housekeeping selection. The Good Housekeeping view... Dripping with deliciously sensual allusions to beekeeping, this is an elegantly entwined story of self-discovery and wild, poetic love. When 90-year-old Nellie Golightly receives a letter from a Tahitian woman asking if she can supply her with memories of her father, Rupert Brooke, Nellie is transported back to her bucolic teenage years in the Orchard Tea Garden, Granchester, where she met, and fell hotly in love, with the desperately flirtatious young poet. Fact and quite wonderful fabrication blend together in this bewitching novel.
In 1922 Edith Waters and Freddy Bywaters were found guilty of murdering Edith’s husband and were executed. This is the story from Edith’s point of view, told largely through her letters to Freddy. In my mind it is not Jill’s best book and one feels little sympathy for the characters, but strangely, despite knowing the end, one still reads it willing the couple to be allowed to enjoy their love.Comparison: Susan Fletcher, Deborah Moggach, Lionel Shriver.