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Maggie Gee was chosen as one of Granta's original 'Best Young Novelists'. She has published many novels to great acclaim, including The White Family, which was shortlisted for the 2002 Orange Prize for Fiction and for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award 2004; and The Flood, which was longlisted for the 2004 Orange Prize. She is the first female chair of the Royal Society of Literature, and lives in London.
Featured on The Book Show on Sky Arts on 5 March 2009. This is a very enoyable mix of comedy and danger. Through a series of errors, an accident-prone writer attending a writers' conference in Uganda finds herself caught up in a war-zone. Maggie Gee handles the elements of farce and more serious issues with an expert touch.
Who attacked Dad? When corrupt, brutal dentist Albert Ludd is found battered and bloody after failing to attend a memorial party for his youngest son, a solider, suspicion falls on his other children, especially 37-year-old buxom bruiser Monica, who was heard uttering threats against her absent father. How come her car is found outside his house? Why did she buy a large axe? Yet, Monica's a deputy head. Blood is a Gothic black comedy seen through the eyes of six-foot Monica, who speaks her secret thoughts aloud and who has been banned by the principal of her school, from using social media: Parents are sensitive to abuse. Governors query `moron' and `twat'. Blood asks serious questions about modern life: what can we do with the brutal men who bully women and the weak? Can we wait for a world of order and justice? If we hit back, can the circle of violence ever be broken?
What if Virginia Woolf came back to life in the twenty-first century?Bestselling author Angela Lamb is going through a mid-life crisis. She dumps her irrepressible daughter Gerda at boarding school and flies to New York to pursue her passion for Woolf, whose manuscripts are held in a private collection. When a bedraggled Virginia Woolf materialises among the bookshelves and is promptly evicted, Angela, stunned, rushes after her on to the streets of Manhattan. Soon Angela is chaperoning her troublesome heroine as the latter tries to grasp the internet and scams bookshops with 'rare signed editions'. Then Virginia insists on flying with her to Istanbul, finds a Turkish admirer and steals the show at an International Conference on - Virginia Woolf. Virginia Woolf in Manhattan is a witty and profound novel about the miraculous possibilities of a second chance at life.
Paula is a victim of mysterious harassment. She lives near the railway line that carries nuclear waste through the heart of London and feels curiously, constantly unwell. Grace, her remarkable eighty-five-year-old aunt, deplores the evils of the modern world. When she, too, is plagued by silent phone calls, she escapes to Seabourne on the South Coast, where nothing ever happens except quiet deaths and holidays. Bruno is a sexually quirky private detective who attacks daisies with scissors, germs with bleach and old ladies for fun. If he follows Grace to Seabourne, can anything save her? Inspired by the real-life murder of anti-nuclear protester Hilda Murrell, Grace is a breathtaking thriller that asks whether, in a bankrupt, dishonest, security-mad Britain, courage and love still count for something. 'Excellent' The Times 'Heart-stoppingly exciting' Time Out 'Maggie Gee's excellent novel treads a sure path between love and fear, taking as its starting point sinister and secret happenings in contemporary England. I read it twice, and it was even better the second time.' Anita Brookner, The Spectator 'Full of poignancy and power.' Jeannette Winterson
How do you become a writer, and why? Maggie Gee's journey starts a long way from the literary world in a small family in post-war Britain,. At seventeen, Maggie goes, a lamb to the slaughter, to university. From the 1960s onwards she lives the defining events of her generation: the coming of the Pill and sexual freedom, tremors in the British layer-cake of class and race. In the 1980s, Maggie finally gets published, falls in love, marries and has a daughter - but for the next three decades and beyond, she survives, and sometimes thrives, by writing. This frank, bold memoir dares to explore the big questions: success and failure, sex, death and parenthood - our animal life.
Vanessa Henman, a plucky but accident-prone white writer, flies out to Uganda for an African writers' conference. She also means to visit her former cleaner, Ugandan Mary Tendo, now the successful Executive Housekeeper of Kampala's Sheraton Hotel. But Mary has her own agenda: her son Jamil is missing, and she has secretly summoned Vanessa's beloved ex-husband Trevor, a plumber, to her village to help build a new well. Vanessa sets off alone on safari to distant Bwindi Impenetrable Forest to see the mountain gorillas. But then Vanessa quarrels with her driver and a bloody war closes in on Bwindi from Congo. Can anyone save her? Will Mary Tendo find her son?
It's the middle of the 21st century, and the next Ice Age has suddenly sent global warming into reverse. Saul is one of the Ice People, the threatened peoples of the northern hemisphere, who, watching their world freeze over, try to move south towards the equator. 'Set in the near future, it imagines not a globally warmed world, but an earth slowly returning to aridity and cold. A universal freeze has also descended upon relationships between men and women, who live in morbid segregation, with feathered robots as sexual partners. In a neat reversal of First World-Third World assumptions, Africa's relative warmth offers a last hope to northerly survivors as the novel charts one man's struggle to rescue his alienated son and bring him to where the sun shines' - Rose Tremain.
SHORTLISTED FOR THE 2002 ORANGE PRIZE FOR FICTION Alfred White, a London park-keeper, rules his home with a mixture of ferocity and tenderness that has estranged his three children. But family ties are strong, and when Alfred collapses on duty one day, they rush to be with him. His daughter's partner, Elroy, a black social-worker, is brought face to face with Alfred's younger son Dirk, who hates and fears all black people. The scene is set for violence, and Alfred's wife May is forced to choose between justice and kinship. This ground-breaking novel tackles the taboo subject of racial hatred, as it looks for the roots of violence within one British family.
The actors in these short stories quietly and unobtrusively assume their place in the world. An older woman rids herself of social shackles in the hypnotic title story as she moves towards the sea and freedom, a man packs in his day job to sell miniature suitcases, while a woman converts a freelance evangelist after their plane nearly crashes. Maggie Gee deftly encapsulates a world in which a moment of impatience with a spouse can cost a family their lives and a dying man's last thoughts are of gathering his wife's favourite flowers in a bouquet. Her characters are all too familiar in their struggle for fulfilment and their efforts to come to grips with bittersweet, but enduring love. These exquisite stories of everyday life are set against an intricately woven backdrop encompassing larger issues of poverty, race relations, and social prejudices. They are stories about love that tell us something about life, and how people negotiate a path for themselves.
My cleaner. She does my dirty work. She knows more about me than anyone else in the world. But does she, in fact, like me? Does her presence fill me with shame? Ugandan Mary Tendo worked for many years in the white middle-class Henman household in London, cleaning for Vanessa and looking after her only child, Justin. More than ten years after Mary has left, Justin - now twenty-two, handsome and gifted - is too depressed to get out of bed. To his mother's surprise, he asks for Mary. When Mary responds to Vanessa's cry for help and returns from Uganda to look after Justin, the balance of power in the house shifts dramatically. Both women's lives change irrevocably as tensions build towards a startling climax on a snowbound motorway. Maggie Gee confronts racism and class conflict with humour and tenderness in this moving, funny, engrossing read.
Christopher and Alexandra's passion for one another raises eyebrows and invites envy. This beautiful blinkered couple do the unthinkable and run away from home, abandoning their two teenage children.
President Bliss is handling a tricky situation with customary brio, but after months of ceaseless rain the city is sinking under the floods. The rich are safe on high ground, but the poor are getting damper in their packed tower blocks, and the fanatical 'Last Days' sect is recruiting thousands ... When at last the sun breaks through the clouds Lottie heads off to the opera, husband Harold listens to jazz and their ditsy teenage daughter Lola fights capitalism by bunking off school. Shirley takes her twin boys to the zoo. The Government - eager to detract attention from a foreign war it has waged - announces a spectacular City Gala. But not even TV astrologer Davey Lucas can predict the extraordinary climax that ensues.
The Whites are an ordinary British family: love, hatred, sex and death hold them together, and tear them apart. At the beginning of the twenty-first century, Alfred White, a London park keeper, still rules his home with fierce conviction and inarticulate tenderness. May, his clever, passive wife, loves Alfred but conspires against him. Their three children are no longer close; the successful elder son, Darren, has escaped to the USA. But when Alfred collapses on duty, beautiful, childless Shirley, who lives with Leroy, a black social-worker, is brought face to face with Alfred's younger son Dirk, who hates and fears all black people. The scene is set for violence. In the end Alfred and May are forced to make a climactic decision: does justice matter more than kinship? This ambitious, ground-breaking novel takes on the taboo subject of racial hatred as it looks for the roots of violence within the family and within British society.