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Diana Athill - Author

About the Author

Diana Athill’s books include Yesterday Morning and Stet: An Editor’s Life. For fifty years she was the editorial director of André Deutsch, where she worked with such authors as Jean Rhys, Gitta Sereny and V. S. Naipaul. Her memoir, Somewhere Towards the End, was published by Granta Books in January 2008.

Featured books by Diana Athill

Instead of a Book Letters to a Friend

Instead of a Book Letters to a Friend

Author: Diana Athill Format: Hardback Release Date: 06/10/2011

  Written in an even more vivid and direct style than her celebrated memoirs, Diana Athill's letters to the American poet Edward Field reveal a sharply intelligent woman with a brilliant sense of humour, a keen eye for the absurd, a fierce loyalty and a passionate zest for life. This intimate correspondence spanning thirty years covers her final years as an editor at Andre Deutsch, her retirement and immersion in her own writing, her growing fame and encroaching old age, and gives a fascinating insight into a life fully lived. Edited, selected and introduced by Diana Athill, and annotated with her own delightful notes, this funny, revealing and immensely readable collection will bring enormous pleasure to her many thousands of readers.

Other books by Diana Athill

Alive, Alive Oh! And Other Things That Matter

Alive, Alive Oh! And Other Things That Matter

Author: Diana Athill Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 03/01/2017

What will you remember if you live to be 100? Diana Athill charmed readers with her prize-winning memoir Somewhere Towards the End, which transformed her into an unexpected literary star. Now, on the eve of her ninety-eighth birthday, Athill has written a sequel every bit as unsentimental, candid, and beguiling as her most beloved work. Writing from her cozy room in Highgate, London, Diana begins to reflect on the things that matter after a lifetime of remarkable experiences, and the memories that have risen to the surface and sustain her in her very old age. My two valuable lessons are: avoid romanticism and abhor possessiveness, she writes. In warm, engaging prose she describes the bucolic pleasures of her grandmother's garden and the wonders of traveling as a young woman in Europe after the end of the Second World War. As her vivid, textured memories range across the decades, she relates with unflinching candor her harrowing experience as an expectant mother in her forties and crafts unforgettable portraits of friends, writers, and lovers. A pure joy to read, Alive, Alive Oh! sparkles with wise and often very funny reflections on the condition of being old. Athill reminds us of the joy and richness of every stage of life-and what it means to live life fully, without regrets.

Alive, Alive Oh! And Other Things That Matter

Alive, Alive Oh! And Other Things That Matter

Author: Diana Athill Format: Hardback Release Date: 04/01/2016

What will you remember if you live to be 100? Diana Athill charmed readers with her prize-winning memoir Somewhere Towards the End, which transformed her into an unexpected literary star. Now, on the eve of her ninety-eighth birthday, Athill has written a sequel every bit as unsentimental, candid, and beguiling as her most beloved work. Writing from her cozy room in Highgate, London, Diana begins to reflect on the things that matter after a lifetime of remarkable experiences, and the memories that have risen to the surface and sustain her in her very old age. My two valuable lessons are: avoid romanticism and abhor possessiveness, she writes. In warm, engaging prose she describes the bucolic pleasures of her grandmother's garden and the wonders of traveling as a young woman in Europe after the end of the Second World War. As her vivid, textured memories range across the decades, she relates with unflinching candor her harrowing experience as an expectant mother in her forties and crafts unforgettable portraits of friends, writers, and lovers. A pure joy to read, Alive, Alive Oh! sparkles with wise and often very funny reflections on the condition of being old. Athill reminds us of the joy and richness of every stage of life-and what it means to live life fully, without regrets.

Alive, Alive Oh!

Alive, Alive Oh!

Author: Diana Athill Format: eBook Release Date: 19/11/2015

Several years ago, Diana Athill accepted that she could no longer live entirely independently, and moved to a retirement home in Highgate. When she had acclimatized, she found herself released from the daily anxieties of caring for her own property, and free to settle into her remaining years. From this vantage point, she reflects on what it feels like to be very old, and on the moments in her long life that have risen to the surface and which sustain her in these last years. What really matters in the end? And after a long life, which memories stand out? As she approaches her 100th year, Athill recalls in sparkling, precise detail the exact layout of the garden of her childhood, a vast and beautiful park attached to a large house; relates with humour, clarity and honesty her experiences of the First and Second World Wars and her trips to Europe as a young woman; and in the remarkable title chapter, describes her pregnancy at the age of forty-three, losing the baby and almost losing her life - and her gratitude and joy on discovering that she had survived. With vivid memories of the past mingled with candid, wise and often very funny reflections on what it's like to be very old, Alive, Alive Oh! reminds us what really matters, and of the joy to be found at every stage of life.

Letters to a Friend

Letters to a Friend

Author: Diana Athill, Edward Field Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 12/08/2013

Diana Athill is one of our great women of letters. The renowned editor of V. S. Naipaul, Jean Rhys, and many others, she is also a celebrated memoirist whose Somewhere Towards the End was a New York Times bestseller and a National Book Critics Circle Award winner. For thirty years, Athill corresponded with the American poet Edward Field, freely sharing jokes, pleasures, and pains with her old friend. Letters to a Friend is an epistolary memoir that describes a warm, decades-long friendship. Written with intimacy and spontaneity, candor and grace, it is perhaps more revealing than any of her celebrated books. Edited, selected, and introduced by Athill, and annotated with her own delightful notes, this collection-rich with Athill's characteristic wit, humor, elegance, and honesty-reveals a sharply intelligent woman with a keen eye for the absurd, a brilliant turn of phrase, and a wicked sense of humor. Covering her career as an editor, the adventure of her retirement, her immersion in her own writing, and her reactions to becoming unexpectedly famous in her old age-including gossip about legendary authors and mutual friends, sharp pen-portraits, and uninhibited accounts of her relationships-Letters to a Friend describes a flourishing friendship and offers a portrait of a woman growing older without ever losing her zest for life.

Make Believe A True Story

Make Believe A True Story

Author: Diana Athill Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 04/10/2012

In Make Believe, Diana Athill, acclaimed author of Instead of a Letter and Stet, remembers her turbulent friendship with Hakim Jamal, a young black convert to the teachings of Malcolm X, whom she met in London in the late 1960s. Despite a desperately troubled youth, he became an eloquent spokesman for the black underclass, was Jean Seberg's lover and published a book about Malcolm X, before descending into a mania that had him believing he was God. A witness to his struggles, Diana Athill writes with her characteristic honesty about her entanglement with Jamal, Jamal's relationship with the daughter of a British MP, Gail Benson, and the couple's eventual murder.

After a Funeral

After a Funeral

Author: Diana Athill Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 04/10/2012

This is the story of how and why a talented writer came to kill himself. When Diana Athill met the man she calls Didi, an Egyptian in exile, she fell in love instantly and out of love just as fast. Didi moved into her flat, they shared housework and holidays, and a life of easy intimacy seemed to beckon. But Didi's sweetness and intelligence soon revealed a darker side - he was a gambler, a drinker and a womanizer, impossible to live with but impossible to ignore. With painful honesty, Athill explores the three years they spent together, a period that culminated in Didi's suicide - in her home - an event he described in the journals he left for her to read as 'the one authentic act of my life'.

Instead of a Book Letters to a Friend

Instead of a Book Letters to a Friend

Author: Diana Athill Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 01/06/2012

Diana Athill has corresponded with the American poet Edward Field for over thirty years, freely sharing jokes, pleasures and pains with her old friend, and writing with an intimacy and spontaneity even more revealing than the candour of her celebrated memoirs. Edited, selected and introduced by Athill, and annotated with her own delightful notes, this collection of those letters reveals a sharply intelligent woman with a keen eye for the absurd, a brilliant turn of phrase and a wicked sense of humour. Covering her career as an editor, the adventure of her retirement, her immersion in her own writing and her reactions to becoming unexpectedly famous in her old-age, and including gossip about mutual friends, sharp pen portraits, and uninhibited accounts her relationships - and ailments - Instead of a Book gives a wonderful description of a woman growing older without ever losing her zest for life.

Stet

Stet

Author: Diana Athill Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 06/10/2011

For nearly 50 years, Diana Athill edited (and nursed and coerced and coaxed) some of the most celebrated writers in the English language. In a prose style of inimitable wit and rare candour, she recounts tales from a long life in publishing, including her reflections on editing writers such as V. S. Naipaul, Jean Rhys, Gitta Sereny and Brian Moore. She also provides an account of her own writing career, which includes the two critically acclaimed works, Instead of a Letter and After a Funeral.

Yesterday Morning A Very English Childhood

Yesterday Morning A Very English Childhood

Author: Diana Athill Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 06/10/2011

A remarkable, truthful and vivid recollection of childhood, from the author of Stet, After a Funeral, Don't Look at Me Like That and Instead of a Letter. Here Athill goes back to the beginning in a sharp evocation of a childhood unfashionably filled with happiness - a Norfolk country house, servants, the pleasures of horses, the unfolding secrets of adults and sex. This is England in the 1920s seen (with a clear and unsentimental eye) from the vantage point of England in 2001. It was a privileged and loving life: but did it equip the author to be happy?

Instead of a Letter

Instead of a Letter

Author: Diana Athill Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 06/10/2011

Diana Athill's childhood was idyllic, brought up in the Norfolk countryside. Aged only fifteen, she fell in love with a young undergraduate. They travelled to Oxford, engaged to be married. Then everything fell apart in the cruellest possible way. In this classic modern memoir, Diana Athill dissects the terrible consequences of loss and her struggle to rebuild a personality destroyed by sadness. Yet for all its unhappiness, Instead of a Letter remains a story of hope, written with the frank intelligence and lack of self-pity that have become the hallmarks of Athill's writing.

Midsummer Night in the Workhouse

Midsummer Night in the Workhouse

Author: Diana Athill Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 14/04/2011

Life Class The Selected Memoirs of Diana Athill

Life Class The Selected Memoirs of Diana Athill

Author: Diana Athill Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 07/10/2010

Diana Athill, born in 1917, made her reputation as a writer with the candour of her memoirs; through her commitment, in her words, 'to understand, to be aware, to touch the truth'. In a celebration of her life and writing, Life Class brings together four of her best-loved memoirs in one volume, spanning her very English childhood, her life and loves during World War II, her publishing career at Andre Deutsch, and her reflections on old age. Introduced by Ian Jack, Diana Athill's selected memoirs are a remarkable testament to an unusual and fully lived life.

Don'T Look at Me Like That

Don'T Look at Me Like That

Author: Diana Athill Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 17/08/2001

In England half a century ago, well-brought-up young women are meant to aspire to the respectable life. Some things are not to be spoken of; some are most certainly not to be done. There are rules, conventions. Meg Bailey obeys them. She progresses from Home Counties school to un-Bohemian art college with few outward signs of passion or frustration. Her personality is submerged in polite routines; even with her best friend, Roxane, what can't be said looms far larger than what can. But circumstances change. Meg gets a job and moves to London. Roxane gets married to a man picked out by her mother. And then Meg does something shocking - shocking not only by the standards of her time, but by our own. As sharp and startling now as when it was written, Don't Look at Me Like That matches Diana Athill's memoirs After a Funeral and Instead of a Letter in its gift of storytelling and its unflinching candour about love and betrayal.

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