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Penelope Lively - Author

About the Author

Penelope Lively grew up in Egypt but settled in England after the war and took a degree in history at St Anne's College, Oxford.  She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, and a member of PEN and the Society of Authors.  She was married to the late Professor Jack Lively, has a daughter, a son and four grandchildren, and lives in Oxfordshire and London.

Penelope Lively is the author of many prize-winning novels and short story collections for both adults and children.  She has twice been shortlisted for the Booker Prize; once in 1977 for her first novel, The Road to Lichfield, and again in 1984 for According to Mark.  She later won the 1987 Booker Prize for her highly acclaimed novel Moon Tiger.  Her novels include Passing On, shortlisted for the 1989 Sunday Express Book of the Year Award, City of the Mind, Cleopatra's Sister, Heat Wave and her latest, Consequences.  Many of her books, including Going Back, which first appeared as a children's book, and Oleander, Jacaranda, an autobiographical memoir of her childhood days in Egypt, are published in Penguin.

Penelope Lively has also written radio and television scripts and has acted as presenter for a BBC Radio 4 programme on children's literature.  She is a popular writer for children and has won both the Carnegie Medal and the Whitbread Award.

Featured books by Penelope Lively

Life in the Garden

Life in the Garden

Author: Penelope Lively Format: Hardback Release Date: 02/11/2017

ebook of the month
The Purple Swamp Hen and Other Stories

The Purple Swamp Hen and Other Stories

Author: Penelope Lively Format: Paperback Release Date: 04/05/2017

A dream house that is hiding something sinister; two women having lunch who share a husband; an old woman doing her weekly supermarket shop with a secret past that no one could guess; a couple who don't know each other at all even after fifteen years together; and, in the story from which this collection takes its name, a bird and a servant girl in ancient Pompeii who cannot converse, but share a perfect understanding.

ebook of the month
Moon Tiger

Moon Tiger

Author: Penelope Lively Format: Paperback Release Date: 06/08/2015

But Claudia's life is entwined with others and she must allow those who knew her, loved her, the chance to speak, to put across their point of view. There is Gordon, brother and adversary; Jasper, her untrustworthy lover and father of Lisa, her cool conventional daughter; and then there is Tom, her one great love, found and lost in wartime Egypt.

ebook of the month
Ammonites and Leaping Fish A Life in Time

Ammonites and Leaping Fish A Life in Time

Author: Penelope Lively Format: Paperback Release Date: 07/08/2014

In this charming but powerful memoir, Penelope Lively reports from beyond the horizon of old age. She describes what old age feels like for those who have arrived there and considers the implications of this new demographic. She looks at the context of a life and times, the history and archaeology that is actually being made as we live out our lives in real time, in her case World War II; post war penny-pinching Britain; the Suez crisis; the Cold War and up to the present day. She examines the tricks and truths of memory. She looks back over a lifetime of reading and writing. And finally she looks at her identifying cargo of possessions - two ammonites, a cat, a pair of American ducks and a leaping fish sherd, amongst others. This is an elegant, moving and deeply enjoyable memoir by one of our most loved writers.

ebook of the month

Other books by Penelope Lively

The Ghost of Thomas Kempe

The Ghost of Thomas Kempe

Author: Penelope Lively Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 31/07/2019

The classic ghost story from Penelope Lively, one of the modern greats of British fiction for adults and children alike. James is fed up. His family has moved to a new cottage - with grounds that are great for excavations, and trees that are perfect for climbing - and stuff is happening. Stuff that is normally the kind of thing he does. But it's not him who's writing strange things on shopping lists and fences. It's not him who smashes bottles and pours tea in the Vicar's lap. It's a ghost - honestly. Thomas Kempe the 17th century apothecary has returned and he wants James to be his apprentice. No one else believes in ghosts. It's up to James to get rid of him. Or he'll have no pocket money or pudding ever again. An iconic ghost story for children, The Ghost of Thomas Kempe is adored by generations of readers.

The Photograph

The Photograph

Author: Penelope Lively Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 06/06/2019

'DO NOT OPEN - DESTROY.' The words on the envelope he has found are written in Kath's hand, but Glyn ignores his wife's instruction and breaks the seal. His life unwinds. For he finds a photograph showing Kath holding hands with another man. Unable to forget this long-ago act of betrayal he recklessly excavates the past, seeking out who knew what, tearing apart other lives as he tries to dig up the roots of his wife's infidelity. But what is the truth about Kath? What is the truth about their love? And can it survive this? 'Remarkable' Sunday Telegraph

Moon Tiger

Moon Tiger

Author: Penelope Lively Format: CD-Audio Release Date: 29/11/2018

Claudia Hampton - beautiful, famous, independent, dying. But she remains defiant to the last, telling her nurses that she will write a 'history of the world . . . and in the process, my own'. And it is her story from a childhood just after the First World War through the Second and beyond. But Claudia's life is entwined with others and she must allow those who knew her, loved her, the chance to speak, to put across their point of view. There is Gordon, brother and adversary; Jasper, her untrustworthy lover and father of Lisa, her cool conventional daughter; and then there is Tom, her one great love, found and lost in wartime Egypt.

Life in the Garden

Life in the Garden

Author: Penelope Lively Format: eBook Release Date: 12/06/2018

From the Booker Prize winner and national bestselling author, reflections on gardening, art, literature, and lifePenelope Lively takes up her key themes of time and memory, and her lifelong passions for art, literature, and gardening in this philosophical and poetic memoir. From the courtyards of her childhood home in Cairo to a family cottage in Somerset, to her own gardens in Oxford and London, Lively conducts an expert tour, taking us from Eden to Sissinghurst and into her own backyard, traversing the lives of writers like Virginia Woolf and Philip Larkin while imparting her own sly and spare wisdom. "e;Her body of work proves that certain themes never go out of fashion,"e; writes the New York Times Book Review, as true of this beautiful volume as of the rest of the Lively canon.Now in her eighty-fourth year, Lively muses, "e;To garden is to elide past, present, and future; it is a defiance of time."e;

Life in the Garden

Life in the Garden

Author: Penelope Lively Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 07/06/2018

'Rich and unusual, a book to treasure. Few recent gardening books come anywhere close to its style, intelligence and depth. Moves between Lively's own horticultural life and a broad history of gardening' Observer 'Wonderful. A manifesto of horticultural delight' Literary Review 'Beautiful. Perfect for literary garden lovers' Good Housekeeping 'Exquisite and original' Daily Telegraph 'Enchanting. Reading this book is like walking with a wise, humorous guide through a series of garden rooms . . . and finding that vistas suddenly open out, on to history, fashion, politics, reflections on time and the taming of nature' Tablet 'A perfect bedside book. In part it's a memoir of the gardens in Lively's life, starting with the exotic Egyptian garden of her childhood and continuing up to her small present-day garden in a north London square' Sunday Express 'A gentle survey of the garden's place in Western culture, which morphs into a personal meditation on time, memory and a life well lived' i 'Scholarly bedtime reading' The Times, Books of the Year

Life in the Garden

Life in the Garden

Author: Penelope Lively Format: CD-Audio Release Date: 02/11/2017

Penelope Lively has always been a keen gardener. This book is partly a memoir of her own life in gardens: the large garden at home in Cairo where she spent most of her childhood, her grandmother's garden in a sloping Somerset field, then two successive Oxfordshire gardens of her own, and the smaller urban garden in the North London home she lives in today. It's also a wise, engaging exploration of gardens in literature, from Paradise Lost to Alice in Wonderland.

Life in the Garden

Life in the Garden

Author: Penelope Lively Format: Hardback Release Date: 02/11/2017

ebook of the month
The Road To Lichfield

The Road To Lichfield

Author: Penelope Lively Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 01/06/2017

The Road to Lichfield is the Booker Prize shortlisted first novel by Penelope Lively, published as a Penguin Essential for the first time on the 40th anniversary of its publication. Ann Linton leaves her family in Berkshire and sets up camp in her father's house when he is taken into a nursing home in distant Lichfield. As she shares his last weeks she meets David Fielding, and the love they share brings her feelings into sharp focus. Deeply felt, beautifully controlled, The Road to Lichfield is a subtle exploration of memory and identity, of chance and consequence, of the intricate weave of generations across a past never fully known, and a future never fully anticipated. 'A searing study of the peculiar state of being in love . . . there are few contemporary novelists to match her on this subject' Sunday Telegraph

The Purple Swamp Hen and Other Stories

The Purple Swamp Hen and Other Stories

Author: Penelope Lively Format: Paperback Release Date: 04/05/2017

A dream house that is hiding something sinister; two women having lunch who share a husband; an old woman doing her weekly supermarket shop with a secret past that no one could guess; a couple who don't know each other at all even after fifteen years together; and, in the story from which this collection takes its name, a bird and a servant girl in ancient Pompeii who cannot converse, but share a perfect understanding.

ebook of the month
The House in Norham Gardens

The House in Norham Gardens

Author: Penelope Lively Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 07/07/2016

No.40 Norham Gardens, Oxford, is the home of Clare Mayfield, her two aged aunts and two lodgers. The house is a huge Victorian monstrosity, with rooms all full of old furniture, old papers, old clothes, memorabilia - it is like a living museum. Clare discovers in a junk room the vividly painted shield which her great-grandfather, an eminent anthropologist, had brought back from New Guinea. She becomes obsessed with its past and determined to find out more about its strange tribal origins. Dreams begin to haunt her - dreams of another country, another culture, another time, and of shadowy people whom she feels are watching her. Who are they, and what do they want?

Moon Tiger

Moon Tiger

Author: Penelope Lively Format: Paperback Release Date: 06/08/2015

But Claudia's life is entwined with others and she must allow those who knew her, loved her, the chance to speak, to put across their point of view. There is Gordon, brother and adversary; Jasper, her untrustworthy lover and father of Lisa, her cool conventional daughter; and then there is Tom, her one great love, found and lost in wartime Egypt.

ebook of the month
Ammonites and Leaping Fish A Life in Time

Ammonites and Leaping Fish A Life in Time

Author: Penelope Lively Format: Paperback Release Date: 07/08/2014

In this charming but powerful memoir, Penelope Lively reports from beyond the horizon of old age. She describes what old age feels like for those who have arrived there and considers the implications of this new demographic. She looks at the context of a life and times, the history and archaeology that is actually being made as we live out our lives in real time, in her case World War II; post war penny-pinching Britain; the Suez crisis; the Cold War and up to the present day. She examines the tricks and truths of memory. She looks back over a lifetime of reading and writing. And finally she looks at her identifying cargo of possessions - two ammonites, a cat, a pair of American ducks and a leaping fish sherd, amongst others. This is an elegant, moving and deeply enjoyable memoir by one of our most loved writers.

ebook of the month
Moon Tiger

Moon Tiger

Author: Penelope Lively Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 31/01/2014

Claudia Hampton is a popular historian, a strong, beautiful and difficult woman. Now in her seventies, she is plotting her greatest work - a history of the world. She looks back over her life growing up between the wars and remembers the people who have shared its triumphs and tragedies. There is Gordon, her adored brother; Jasper, the charming, untrustworthy lover and father of her daughter, and Tom, her one great love, both found and lost during the El Alamein campaign when she worked as a war correspondent. Against a background of world events, Claudia's own remarkable story provokes a sharp combination of sadness, shock and amusement. Simon Reade's adaptation is introduced by Penelope Lively herself. Compelling, moving and eloquent, one of the great novels of the 20th century is brought to the stage for the first time. Winner of the 1987 Booker Prize, Penelope Lively's Moon Tiger is a haunting story of loss and desire.

Abroad

Abroad

Author: Penelope Lively Format: eBook Release Date: 01/07/2013

A brilliantly funny original short story from Booker Prize winning author Penelope Lively.'Anyone artistic needed Abroad in the 1950s.'Paul and his girlfriend are artists in need of subject matter. Arresting, evocative subject matter. So they decide to go Abroad, as much as possible, for as long as possible. Because Abroad is full of well furnished scenery. Particularly peasants. Real, earthy, traditional peasants. Except you shouldn't really call them peasants should you? 'Country people'. Abroad is full of country people.In this funny, deftly written short story, Penelope Lively satirises an arty student of the 50s, a precursor of the gap year traveller, who hasn't learnt as much from her time Abroad as she likes to think . . .Penelope Lively is the author of many prize-winning novels and short-story collections for both adults and children. She has twice been shortlisted for the Booker Prize: once in 1977 for her first novel, The Road to Lichfield, and again in 1984 for According to Mark. She later won the 1987 Booker Prize for her highly acclaimed novel Moon Tiger. Her other books include Going Back; Judgement Day; Next to Nature, Art; Perfect Happiness; Passing On; City of the Mind; Cleopatra's Sister; Heat Wave; Beyond the Blue Mountains, a collection of short stories; Oleander, Jacaranda, a memoir of her childhood days in Egypt; Spiderweb; her autobiographical work, A House Unlocked; The Photograph; Making It Up; Consequences; Family Album, which was shortlisted for the 2009 Costa Novel Award, and How It All Began. She is a popular writer for children and has won both the Carnegie Medal and the Whitbread Award. She was appointed CBE in the 2001 New Year's Honours List, and DBE in 2012. Penelope Lively lives in London.

Cleopatra's Sister

Cleopatra's Sister

Author: Penelope Lively Format: eBook Release Date: 03/08/2012

Paleontologist Howard Beamish is flying to Nairobi on a professional mission when his plane is forced to land in the imaginary country of Callimbia. Journalist Lucy Faulkner, on assignment to write a travel piece for a Sunday magazine, is on the same flight. What happens to Howard and Lucy in Callimbia is one of those accidents that determine fate, that bring love and take away joy, and that reveal the precariousness of our existence. With intelligence, grace, and gentle irony, Penelope Lively illuminates the age-old dance of myth and reality in a novel sparkling with wit, humor, and keen insight into the storytelling faculty of the human mind.

How It All Began

How It All Began

Author: Penelope Lively Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 03/05/2012

How It All Began is the wonderful new novel from Booker Prize winner Penelope Lively When . . . Charlotte is mugged and breaks her hip, her daughter Rose cannot accompany her employer Lord Peters to Manchester, which means his niece Marion has to go instead, which means she sends a text to her lover which is intercepted by his wife, which is . . . just the beginning in the ensuing chain of life-altering events. In this engaging, utterly absorbing and brilliantly told novel, Penelope Lively shows us how one random event can cause marriages to fracture and heal themselves, opportunities to appear and disappear, lovers who might never have met to find each other and entire lives to become irrevocably changed. Funny, humane, touching, sly and sympathetic, How It All Began is a brilliant sleight of hand from an author at the top of her game. 'Contains some of Lively's funniest and most enjoyable character studies . . . she remains a sublime storyteller'Guardian 'Deeply comical, essentially kind-hearted, wonderfully written and seasoned with a rare wisdom' Literary Review 'More stylish than many writers half her age . . . Lively knows a thing or two about storytelling . . . her candour is refreshing, and reminds us that you don't have to lie to yourself to live life finely until the very end' The Times Penelope Lively is the author of many prize-winning novels and short-story collections for both adults and children. She has twice been shortlisted for the Booker Prize: once in 1977 for her first novel, The Road to Lichfield, and again in 1984 for According to Mark. She later won the 1987 Booker Prize for her highly acclaimed novel Moon Tiger. Her other books include Going Back; Judgement Day; Next to Nature, Art; Perfect Happiness; Passing On; City of the Mind; Cleopatra's Sister; Heat Wave; Beyond the Blue Mountains, a collection of short stories; Oleander, Jacaranda, a memoir of her childhood days in Egypt; Spiderweb; her autobiographical work, A House Unlocked; The Photograph; Making It Up; Consequences; Family Album, which was shortlisted for the 2009 Costa Novel Award, and How It All Began. She is a popular writer for children and has won both the Carnegie Medal and the Whitbread Award. She was appointed CBE in the 2001 New Year's Honours List, and DBE in 2012. Penelope Lively lives in London.

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https://www.penelopelively.net/

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