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Graham Swift - Author

About the Author

Graham Swift was born in 1949 and is the author of nine novels; two collections of short stories; and Making an Elephant, a book of essays, portraits, poetry and reflections on his life in writing. With Waterland he won the Guardian Fiction Prize, and with Last Orders the Booker Prize. Both novels have since been made into films. Graham Swift's work has appeared in over thirty languages.

Author photo © Ekko von Schwichow

Featured books by Graham Swift

Mothering Sunday

Mothering Sunday

Author: Graham Swift Format: Hardback Release Date: 25/02/2016

It is March 30th 1924. It is Mothering Sunday. How will Jane Fairchild, orphan and housemaid, occupy her time when she has no mother to visit? How, shaped by the events of this never to be forgotten day, will her future unfold? Beginning with an intimate assignation and opening to embrace decades, Mothering Sunday has at its heart both the story of a life and the life that stories can magically contain.

ebook of the month
Waterland Picador Classic

Waterland Picador Classic

Author: Graham Swift Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/01/2015

With an introduction by John Burnside Children, only animals live entirely in the Here and Now. Only nature knows neither memory nor history. But man - let me offer you a definition - is the story-telling animal. Tom Crick is a passionate teacher, but before he is forced into retirement by scandal, he has one last history lesson to deliver: his own. Spanning more than 200 years in the lives of its haunted narrator and his ancestors, Waterland is a visionary tale of England's mysterious Fen country. Taking in eels and incest, ale-making and madness, the discovery of a body and a tragic family romance, this is an extraordinary novel about the heartless sweep of history and man's changing place within it. In the years since its first publication in 1983, Waterland has established itself as a much-loved classic of twentieth-century British literature. It was shortlisted for the Booker prize, won the Guardian Fiction Prize and has been adapted into a film starring Jeremy Irons and Ethan Hawke.

England and Other Stories

England and Other Stories

Author: Graham Swift Format: Hardback Release Date: 03/07/2014

These twenty-five new stories mark Graham Swift's return to the short form after seven acclaimed novels and confirm him as a master storyteller. They unite into a richly peopled vision of a country that is both a crucible of history and a maze of contemporary confusions. Meet Dr Shah who has never been to India and Mrs Kaminski, on her way to Poland via A&E; meet Holly and Polly who have come to their own Anglo-Irish understanding and Lily Hobbs, married to a shirt; Charlie and Don who have seen the docks turn into Docklands; Mr Wilkinson the weirdo next door; Daisy Baker who is terrified of Yorkshire; and Johnny Dewhurst, stranded on Exmoor. Graham Swift steers us effortlessly from the Civil War to the present day, from world-shaking events to the secret dramas lived out in rooms, workplaces, homes. With his remarkable sense of place, he charts an intimate human geography. In doing so he moves us profoundly, but with a constant eye for comedy. Binding these stories together is Swift's grasp of the universal in the local and his affectionate but unflinching instinct for the story of us all: an evocation of that mysterious body that is a nation, deepened by the palpable sense of our individual bodies finding or losing their way in the nationless territory of birth, growing up, sex, ageing and death.

ebook of the month
Wish You Were Here

Wish You Were Here

Author: Graham Swift Format: Hardback Release Date: 03/06/2011

On an autumn day in 2006, on the Isle of Wight, Jack Luxton, former Devon farmer and now the proprietor of a seaside caravan park, receives the news that his soldier brother Tom, not seen for years, has been killed in Iraq. For Jack and his wife Ellie this will have a potentially catastrophic impact. For Jack in particular it means a crucial journey-to receive his brother's remains, but also into his own most secret, troubling memories and into the land of his and Ellie's past.

ebook of the month

Other books by Graham Swift

Here We Are

Here We Are

Author: Graham Swift Format: Hardback Release Date: 27/02/2020

It is Brighton, 1959, and the theatre at the end of the pier is having its best summer season in years. Ronnie, a brilliant young magician, and Evie, his dazzling assistant, are top of the bill, drawing audiences each night. Meanwhile, Jack - Jack Robinson, as in 'before you can say' - is everyone's favourite compere, a born entertainer, holding the whole show together. As the summer progresses, the off-stage drama between the three begins to overshadow their theatrical success, and events unfold which will have lasting consequences for all their futures. Rich, comic, alive and subtly devastating, Here We Are is a masterly piece of literary magicianship which pulls back the curtain on the human condition. 'One to watch for 2020' according to: The Sunday Times The Times The Daily Telegraph The Guardian Financial Times Evening Standard The Scotsman The Irish Times 'He tells simple, truthful stories about what feel like real people. Here We Are is a welcome addition to a proud legacy.' The Big Issue The variety of voices and its historical and emotional reach are so finely entwined, it is as perfect and smooth as an egg. Passages leap out all the time, demanding to be reread, or committed to memory... It is perhaps too simple to say that Swift creates a form of fictional magic, but what he can do with a page is out of the ordinary, far beyond most mortals' ken.' Rosemary Goring,The Herald 'Here We Are is a subtle portrait of a vanished world, with moving passages about the problems of wartime evacuees returning to impoverished London life after the wonders of the countryside.' The Independent 'In Here We Are, Swift does not just dwell on the pivotal moments of our lives, but traces their shockwaves both forward and back. Moving seamlessly from pre-war to post, from the events of one illusory, youthful summer to the present, we are given candid access to the innermost reflections of three people who loved and betrayed each other. The end result is the stuff of life, an enduring mystery that Ronnie, Evie, Jack - that we all - must live with. I thought it was wonderful.' Joseph Knox, author of Sirens 'As with all his books, it's the moments of quiet, undramatic poignancy that stay with you' Sunday Express 'a quietly, devastating, magical novel' Telegraph 'With a wizardry of his own, Swift conjures up an about-to-disappear little world and turns it into something of wider resonance' Sunday Times Praise for Mothering Sunday: 'Bathed in light; and even when tragedy strikes, it blazes irresistibly... Swift's small fiction feels like a masterpiece' Guardian 'Alive with sensuousness and sensuality ... wonderfully accomplished, it is an achievement' Sunday Times 'From start to finish Swift's is a novel of stylish brilliance and quiet narrative verve. The archly modulated, precise prose (a hybrid of Henry Green and Kazuo Ishiguro) is a glory to read. Now 66, Swift is a writer at the very top of his game' Evening Standard 'Mothering Sunday is a powerful, philosophical and exquisitely observed novel about the lives we lead, and the parallel lives - the parallel stories - we can never know ... It may just be Swift's best novel yet' Observer

Waterland

Waterland

Author: Graham Swift Format: Hardback Release Date: 14/11/2019

FROM THE BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF LAST ORDERS AND MOTHERING SUNDAY, reissued for the first time in Scribner The classic edition of one of the 20th Century's finest novels by the winner of The Booker Prize One summer morning in 1943, lock-keeper Henry Crick finds the drowned body of a sixteen-year-old boy. Nearly forty years later, his son Tom, a history teacher, is driven by a bizarre marital crisis and the provocation of one of his students to forsake the formal teaching of history-and tell stories . . . Waterland is a classic of modern fiction: a vision of England seen through its mysterious, amphibious Fen country; a sinuous meditation on the workings of time; a tale of two families, startling in its twists and turns and universal in its reach. Compulsively readable, it is a novel of resonant depth and encyclopaedic richness, mixing human and natural history and exploring the tragic forces that take us both forwards and back. It is also a book about beer, eels, the French Revolution, the end of the world, windmills, will-o'-the-wisps, murder, love, education, curiosity and-supremely-the malign and merciful element of water. 'A quite brilliant novel' Daily Telegraph 'Inspired' New York Times

Last Orders

Last Orders

Author: Graham Swift Format: Hardback Release Date: 14/11/2019

WINNER OF THE BOOKER PRIZE 1996 The classic edition of one of the 20th Century's finest novels Four men once close to Jack Dodds, a London butcher, meet to carry out his peculiar last wish: to have his ashes scattered into the sea at Margate. For reasons best known to herself, Jack's widow, Amy, declines to join them . . . On the surface a simple tale of an increasingly bizarre day's outing, this Booker-prize winning, internationally acclaimed novel is a resonant and classic exploration of the complexity and courage of ordinary lives. Intensely local but overwhelmingly universal, faithful to the fleeting rhythms and accidental eloquence of everyday speech but also to the timeless truths of life and death, it succeeds in being comic and heartstopping, affectionate and wise, and in conferring on its stumbling, disappointed characters an enduring decency, dignity and depth. 'A surpassing testament to Swift's vibrant and powerful gifts' The Times 'A triumph . . . a story about the most fundamental things of all' Evening Standard

Last Orders

Last Orders

Author: Graham Swift Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 11/07/2019

WINNER OF THE BOOKER PRIZE 1996 Four men once close to Jack Dodds, a London butcher, meet to carry out his peculiar last wish: to have his ashes scattered into the sea at Margate. For reasons best known to herself, Jack's widow, Amy, declines to join them . . . On the surface a simple tale of an increasingly bizarre day's outing, this Booker-prize winning, internationally acclaimed novel is a resonant and classic exploration of the complexity and courage of ordinary lives. Intensely local but overwhelmingly universal, faithful to the fleeting rhythms and accidental eloquence of everyday speech but also to the timeless truths of life and death, it succeeds in being comic and heartstopping, affectionate and wise, and in conferring on its stumbling, disappointed characters an enduring decency, dignity and depth. 'A surpassing testament to Swift's vibrant and powerful gifts' The Times 'A triumph . . . a story about the most fundamental things of all' Evening Standard

Ever After

Ever After

Author: Graham Swift Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 11/07/2019

FROM THE BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF LAST ORDERS AND MOTHERING SUNDAY, reissued for the first time in Scribner Bill Unwin, an academic of dubious status, has never recovered from the death of his famous actress wife and is now convalescing from a recent brush with his own mortality. He has two tales to tell. One, spanning post-war Paris, 1950s Soho and contemporary sexual and scholarly entanglements, surveys the muddle of his own life. The other, drawn from the notebooks of a Victorian ancestor, is the very different story of Matthew Pearce, a serious-minded man whose happiness is destroyed by his compulsive search for truth. Bill's recollections of his beautiful wife, his wayward mother and his philandering stepfather, his wry reflections on his present plight and his unexpected bond with the forgotten Matthew combine to form a potent and moving mental quest. Embracing two centuries and a host of subjects-from ballet dancers and prehistoric beasts to the bewildering persistence of love-it asks nothing less than the eternal question: 'Why should things matter?' 'A perfect piece of literary art' The Spectator 'Masterfully done' Washington Post

Waterland

Waterland

Author: Graham Swift Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 11/07/2019

FROM THE BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF LAST ORDERS AND MOTHERING SUNDAY, reissued for the first time in Scribner One summer morning in 1943, lock-keeper Henry Crick finds the drowned body of a sixteen-year-old boy. Nearly forty years later, his son Tom, a history teacher, is driven by a bizarre marital crisis and the provocation of one of his students to forsake the formal teaching of history-and tell stories . . . Waterland is a classic of modern fiction: a vision of England seen through its mysterious, amphibious Fen country; a sinuous meditation on the workings of time; a tale of two families, startling in its twists and turns and universal in its reach. Compulsively readable, it is a novel of resonant depth and encyclopaedic richness, mixing human and natural history and exploring the tragic forces that take us both forwards and back. It is also a book about beer, eels, the French Revolution, the end of the world, windmills, will-o'-the-wisps, murder, love, education, curiosity and-supremely-the malign and merciful element of water. 'A quite brilliant novel' Daily Telegraph 'Inspired' New York Times

The Sweet Shop Owner

The Sweet Shop Owner

Author: Graham Swift Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 11/07/2019

FROM THE BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF LAST ORDERS AND MOTHERING SUNDAY, reissued for the first time in Scribner For forty years, Willy Chapman has struck a strange but steadfast bargain between the two poles of his life: his beautiful but emotionally damaged wife and the sweet shop he runs on a south London high street. Devoted to each, he has maintained a delicate, precarious balance. Now, on a hot summer's day, he attempts to settle his final accounts and reach an understanding with a third, disruptive element in his reckoning: his angry, unforgiving daughter. Spanning five decades and intricately exploring a doomed family triangle, Graham Swift's first novel already shows the historical scope combined with intense intimacy that will characterise his work. 'A marvellous first novel' New Statesman 'Brilliantly chronicled' The Spectator

Learning to Swim

Learning to Swim

Author: Graham Swift Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 11/07/2019

FROM THE BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF LAST ORDERS AND MOTHERING SUNDAY, reissued for the first time in Scribner Graham Swift's first collection of short stories confirms his power to bring an edge of the extraordinary, the dangerous or the subversive into otherwise familiar, safe, even comforting settings. On a holiday beach, a mismatched couple wage a sexually charged war for the devotion of their literally floundering son. A family doctor, oppressed by his own domestic insecurities, intimidates an apparent time-wasting patient. A zookeeper becomes the keeper of a bizarre fixation . . . While vividly evoking a recognisable English geography, these startling stories have an eye for the foreign, for the experience of refugees or for less definable zones of bewilderment and strangeness. More than one has a touch of the ghostly. Highly located yet haunted and haunting, they penetrate a hidden world of human dislocation. 'Graham Swift should be read by everyone with an interest in the art of the short story' Paul Bailey, Evening Standard 'A masterful collection of stories' USA Today

Shuttlecock

Shuttlecock

Author: Graham Swift Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 11/07/2019

FROM THE BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF LAST ORDERS AND MOTHERING SUNDAY, reissued for the first time in Scribner Prentis, employed in the police archives, is becoming confused. His obsession with the plight of his father, a wartime hero now the mute inmate of a mental hospital, is alienating him from his wife and children, while at work he feels under scrutiny from his intimidating boss, Quinn. Gradually, Prentis suspects that his father's breakdown and Quinn's menacing behaviour are related and that the connection is to be found in his father's memoir: 'Shuttlecock'. Shuttlecock is an intense psychological thriller and much more. With poignant force and sometimes dark comedy, it links the secrecies and quirks of domestic life with the enigmas and violence of crime and war. 'A small masterpiece' The Guardian 'Excellent, profound' Alan Hollinghurst

Wish You Were Here

Wish You Were Here

Author: Graham Swift Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 20/09/2018

FROM THE BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF LAST ORDERS AND MOTHERING SUNDAY, and reissued for the first time in Scribner, comes a novel called 'Profound and powerful . . . an unputdownable read' by Scotland on Sunday. On an autumn day in 2006, on the Isle of Wight, Jack Luxton - former Devon farmer, now proprietor of a seaside caravan park - receives the news that his brother Tom, not seen for years, has been killed in Iraq. For Jack and his wife Ellie this will have a potentially catastrophic impact and compel Jack to make a crucial journey: to receive his brother's remains, but also to return to the land of his past and confront his most secret, troubling memories. Praise for Mothering Sunday: 'Bathed in light; and even when tragedy strikes, it blazes irresistibly... Swift's small fiction feels like a masterpiece' Guardian 'Alive with sensuousness and sensuality ... wonderfully accomplished, it is an achievement' Sunday Times 'From start to finish Swift's is a novel of stylish brilliance and quiet narrative verve. The archly modulated, precise prose (a hybrid of Henry Green and Kazuo Ishiguro) is a glory to read. Now 66, Swift is a writer at the very top of his game' Evening Standard 'Mothering Sunday is a powerful, philosophical and exquisitely observed novel about the lives we lead, and the parallel lives - the parallel stories - we can never know ... It may just be Swift's best novel yet' Observer

The Light of Day

The Light of Day

Author: Graham Swift Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 22/02/2018

FROM THE BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF MOTHERING SUNDAY AND LAST ORDERS, and reissued for the first time on the Scribner list, The Light of Day is both a gripping crime story and a remarkable love story. On a cold but dazzling November morning George Webb, a former policeman turned private detective, prepares to visit Sarah, a prisoner and the woman he loves. As he goes about the business of the day he relives the catastrophic events of two years ago that have both bound them together and kept them apart. Making atmospheric use of its suburban setting and shot through with a plain man's unwitting poetry and rueful humour, The Light of Day is a powerful and moving tale of murder, redemption and of the discovery, for better or worse, of the hidden forces inside us. Praise for Mothering Sunday:'Bathed in light; and even when tragedy strikes, it blazes irresistibly... Swift's small fiction feels like a masterpiece' Guardian 'Alive with sensuousness and sensuality ... wonderfully accomplished, it is an achievement' Sunday Times 'From start to finish Swift's is a novel of stylish brilliance and quiet narrative verve. The archly modulated, precise prose (a hybrid of Henry Green and Kazuo Ishiguro) is a glory to read. Now 66, Swift is a writer at the very top of his game' Evening Standard 'Mothering Sunday is a powerful, philosophical and exquisitely observed novel about the lives we lead, and the parallel lives - the parallel stories - we can never know ... It may just be Swift's best novel yet'Observer

Tomorrow

Tomorrow

Author: Graham Swift Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 22/02/2018

FROM THE AUTHOR OF THE BESTSELLING MOTHERING SUNDAY AND LAST ORDERS, and reissued for the first time on the Scribner list, this is an intensely moving novel about a night that will change one family beyond recognition. On a June night Paula, a successful art dealer, lies awake, Mike, her husband of twenty-five years, asleep beside her. In nearby rooms their twin teenage children, Nick and Kate, sleep too. The next day, Paula knows, will define all their lives. As dawn approaches, Paula recalls the years before and after her children were born. Her story is both a celebration of love possessed and a moving acknowledgement of the fear of loss, of the fragilities on which even our most inward sense of who we are can rest. Graham Swift's apparently most domestic book is that rare thing in fiction, a novel about happiness, though a happiness that is not all that it seems. An intimate and tender tale of a marriage, a family and a home, it begins to embrace big themes: nature and nurture, the illusory and the real. Praise for Mothering Sunday: 'Bathed in light; and even when tragedy strikes, it blazes irresistibly... Swift's small fiction feels like a masterpiece'Guardian 'Alive with sensuousness and sensuality ... wonderfully accomplished, it is an achievement' Sunday Times 'From start to finish Swift's is a novel of stylish brilliance and quiet narrative verve. The archly modulated, precise prose (a hybrid of Henry Green and Kazuo Ishiguro) is a glory to read. Now 66, Swift is a writer at the very top of his game' Evening Standard 'Mothering Sunday is a powerful, philosophical and exquisitely observed novel about the lives we lead, and the parallel lives - the parallel stories - we can never know ... It may just be Swift's best novel yet'Observer

Waterland

Waterland

Author: Graham Swift Format: Hardback Release Date: 25/10/2013

Set in the bleak Fen Country of East Anglia, and spanning some 240 years in the lives of its haunted narrator and his ancestors, Waterland is a book that takes in eels and incest, ale-making and madness, the heartless sweep of history and a family romance as tormented as any in Greek tragedy.

Waterland

Waterland

Author: Graham Swift Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 02/04/2010

'Perfectly controlled, superbly written. Waterland is original, compelling and narration of the highest order' Guardian In the years since its first publication, in 1983, Waterland has established itself as one of the classics of twentieth-century British literature: a visionary tale of England's Fen country; a sinuous meditation on the workings of history; and a family story startling in its detail and universal in its reach. This edition includes an introduction, by the author, written to celebrate the book's 25th anniversary. 'Graham Swift has mapped his Waterland like a new Wessex. He appropriates the Fens as Moby Dick did whaling or Wuthering Heights the moors. This is a beautiful, serious and intelligent novel, admirably ambitious and original' Observer 'A 300-page tour de force . . . A burst of exuberant fictive energy' Evening Standard 'Waterland is a formidably intelligent book, animated by an impressive, angry pity at what human creatures are capable of doing to one another in the name of love and need. The most powerful novel I have read for some time' New York Review of Books

Tomorrow

Tomorrow

Author: Graham Swift Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 07/03/2008

On a midsummer's night, Paula lies awake, Mike, her husband of twenty-five years, asleep beside her, her two teenage children, Nick and Kate, sleeping in nearby rooms. The next day, she knows, will define all their lives. As morning approaches, Paula recalls the years before and after her children were born. Her story is both a celebration of love possessed and a moving acknowledgement of the fear of loss, the fragilities, illusions and secrets on which even our most intimate sense of who we are can rest. `A triumph . . . This is Graham Swift at his impressive best' Times Literary Supplement `Paula talks the way that people actually talk . . . this is part of Swift's overwhelming honesty as a writer: he writes the way that life goes' Anne Enright, Guardian `The rhythms of long-term partnership become the rhymes of the narrative itself . . . a subtle picture emerges of how coupledom is deepened by parenthood' Robert MacFarlane, Sunday Times `As assured and subtle as ever . . . Swift artfully reminds us that no set of relationships is ever free from complication and concealment' Spectator `Paula's anguish is beautifully captured, as is her tenderness towards her loved ones' Mail on Sunday

Tomorrow

Tomorrow

Author: Graham Swift Format: eBook Release Date: 01/01/2006

In his first novel since The Light of Day, this Booker Prize winning-author gives us a new, quietly searing novel about the nature of family and about the combination of fact and story that can be made to form the most essential truths. 1:00 a.m. Paula Hook lies awake next to her husband, Mike; her sixteen-year-old twins, Kate and Nick, are asleep down the hall. When the day begins, she and Mike will share a secret with their children that may change all their lives forever. Paula wants Kate and Nick to know a long hidden truth, a "e;bed-time story"e; that will reveal not just the secret but the often unexpected course of the lives-hers and Mike's, their families', the twins'-that have been profoundly, if not always knowingly, shaped by it. In an eloquent, emotion-filled narrative of Paula's life with Mike, she describes both the certain and the surprising ways that having children can mean "e;reconstructing the world."e; In Tomorrow, Graham Swift gives us not only a quietly searing novel about the nature of family but also a dazzling meditation on how little it takes to transform the world.

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