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

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.

eBooks 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.

eBooks 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.

eBooks of the Month
Family Album

Family Album

Author: Penelope Lively Format: Paperback Release Date: 27/05/2010

*NOMINATED FOR THE COSTA NOVEL AWARD* Family Album 'a hugely enjoyable read' from Booker Prize winner Penelope Lively 'This novel should delight her regular readers and ensnare new ones' Evening Standard Allersmead is a big shabby Victorian suburban house. The perfect place to grow up for elegant Sandra, difficult Gina, destructive Paul, considerate Katie, clever Roger and flighty Clare. But was it? Now adults, the children return to Allersmead one by one. To their home-making mother and aloof writer father, and a house that for years has played silent witness to a family's secrets. And one devastating secret of which no one speaks . . . 'One of those ridiculously simple, ridiculously readable novels whose artistry only becomes apparent when you put it down' Sunday Telegraph 'A pleasure to read, hugely enjoyable, consistently absorbing, hilarious' Independent Penelope Lively is the author of many prize-winning novels and short-story collections for both adults and children. She won the 1987 Booker Prize for her highly acclaimed novel Moon Tiger. 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.

eBooks of the Month
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;

eBooks of the Month

Other books by Penelope Lively

In Search of a Homeland

In Search of a Homeland

Author: Penelope Lively Format: Paperback Release Date: 15/10/2007

Aeneas flees from the sacked city of Troy, entrusted by his goddess-mother Venus with a daunting mission: to find a new homeland for his people. Over 2000 years after Virgil wrote his epic The Aeneid, Penelope Lively retells Aeneas' story with pace poignancy and drama, while Ian Andrew's illustrations bring the characters beautifully to life. Together they create an introduction to The Aeneid which takes its place alongside Rosemary Sutcliff's classic retellings of Homer's The Iliad and The Odyssey. The book includes a Latin pronunciation guide and a map of Aeneas' long, arduous, death-defying journey.

Making It Up

Making It Up

Author: Penelope Lively Format: Paperback Release Date: 03/08/2006

A highly original work, in Making it Up, Penelope Lively examines alternative destinies, choices and the moments in our lives when we could have chosen a different path. In this fascinating piece of fiction, Penelope Lively takes moments from her own life and asks 'what if' she had made other choices: what if she hadn't escaped from Alexandria at the outbreak of WWII? What would her life have been like if she had become pregnant when she was 18? If she had married someone else? If she taken a different job? If she had lived her life abroad? '[A] highly original form of fictional autobiography as well as a fascinating insight into the seemingly random nature of destiny' Daily Mail '[Lively's] writing has always tackled deep questions of identity, memory, love and loss . . . These elegant 'confabulations', as she calls them, allow Lively's talents full range. Intelligent, limpidly well-written and full of human understanding, they evoke the times she has seen and the richness of other lives as well as her own' Sunday Telegraph 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.

Oleander, Jacaranda

Oleander, Jacaranda

Author: Penelope Lively Format: Paperback Release Date: 27/04/2006

This autobiography is about growing up in Egypt. It is also an investigation into childhood perception in which the author uses herself and her memories as an insight into how children see and know. It is a look at Eygpt up to, and including, World War II from a small girl's point of view, which is also, ultimately, a moving and rather sad picture of an isolated and lonely little girl.

A House Unlocked

A House Unlocked

Author: Penelope Lively Format: Paperback Release Date: 27/06/2002

A House Unlocked is Booker Prize winning author Penelope Lively's classic memoir. The only child of divorced parents, Penelope Lively was often sent to stay at her grandparents' country house Golsoncott. Years later, as the house was sold out of the family, she began to piece together the lives of those she knew fifty years before. In a needlework sampler, she sees her grandmother and the wartime children that she sheltered under her roof in 1940. Potted meat jars remind her of the ritual of doing the flowers for church. The smell of the harness room brings her Aunt Rachel - avant-garde artist, fervent horserider - vividly back to life. In A House Unlocked, Penelope Lively delves into the domestic past of her former home, and tells of her own youth and the contrasts between life today and the way they lived then. 'Wonderful. Lively is brilliant and original . . . Every page of this book captures your attention' Daily Mail 'Remarkable, richly enjoyable . . . a captivating memoir' Helen Dunmore, The Times 'Engaging, curious, compelling, remarkable . . . Any time spent with Penelope Lively is a joy' Observer 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.

The Ghost of Thomas Kempe

The Ghost of Thomas Kempe

Author: Penelope Lively Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/07/2000

The Ghost of Thomas Kempe by Penelope Lively

The Whispering Knights 1400 Headwords

The Whispering Knights 1400 Headwords

Author: Penelope Lively Format: Paperback Release Date: 23/03/2000

'I don't know that you have done anything wrong,' Miss Hepplewhite said. 'But it is possible that you have done something rather dangerous.' William and Susie thought they were just playing a game when they cooked a witch's brew in the old barn and said a spell over it, but Martha was not so sure. And indeed, the three friends soon learn that they have called up something dark and evil out of the distant past ...

Spiderweb

Spiderweb

Author: Penelope Lively Format: Paperback Release Date: 04/11/1999

Spiderweb is the twelfth novel by Booker Prize winning author Penelope Lively. Stella Brentwood has led an exotic life for a woman of her time. Her frivolous best friend at Oxford, Nadine, knew early what she wanted: marriage and children. Stella, too, has had her share of passion, but her work as an anthropologist - always the outsider, the observer, was her priority. Now she has decided to root herself in Somerset landscape. But she finds that village society in England us far more chaotic, more unpredictable, and even more cruel, than she has known before. And that she cannot - or will not - conform to its rules. 'She is a writer of great subtlety and understanding, and this is her best novel since Moon Tiger, which won the Booker Prize in 1987' The Scotsman 'Evokes an escalating atmosphere of menace . . . Lively at her deceptively easy-to-read best' Daily Mail 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.

Beyond the Blue Mountains

Beyond the Blue Mountains

Author: Penelope Lively Format: Paperback Release Date: 04/06/1998

Beyond the Blue Mountains is a collection of short stories by Booker Prize winning author Penelope Lively. The fourteen warmly humorous stories in Beyond the Blue Mountains range from the fantasy of Scheherazade to a dazzling example of chaos theory, depicting in exquisite prose the subtle but significant events that go to create everyday experience. 'The fourteen brief stories in Beyond the Blue Mountains reveal Penelope Lively at her most polished and perceptive. The Slovenian Giantess is a condensed masterpiece' Sunday Times 'Penelope Lively is a genius and this collection is a joy. In any circumstances, from a wedding to a Christmas shopping expedition, Lively finds an emotional dilemma, engaging the reader as thoroughly as if they were reading a novel and leaving them speechless' Daily Mail 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.

City of the Mind

City of the Mind

Author: Penelope Lively Format: Paperback Release Date: 30/04/1992

City of the Mind is the second novel by Booker Prize winning author Penelope Lively. 'This is the city in which everything is simultaneous. There is no yesterday, nor tomorrow, merely weather, and decay, and construction.' In London's changing heartland, architect Matthew Halland is aware of how the past and the present blend. It stirs memories of his boyhood, the early years of his daughter Jane and the failed marriage that he has almost put behind him. Here too is the London of prehistory, of Georgian elegance, of the Blitz. But Matthew is occupied with constructing a new future for London in Docklands, and with it he begins to forge new beginnings of his own. 'A glorious novel' Observer 'The descriptions of the London Blitz are achingly real' Sunday Telegraph 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.

Passing On

Passing On

Author: Penelope Lively Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/03/1990

Passing On is the eighth novel by Booker Prize winning author Penelope Lively. Helen is fifty-two and Edward forty-nine when Dorothy, their mother, dies, ending her reign of terror and leaving them ill-equipped to deal with their lives. Timid, cautious and naive, Helen makes the charming Giles Carnaby, familiy solicitor, the object of a belated schoolgirl crush, while Edward, free to express his sexuality at last, finds it gets the better of him. Dorothy may be dead and buried, but her iron grip continues to hold them in its power. 'Passing On is about the essential difficulty of being English, of coping with peculiarly English varieties of guilt, nostalgia, frustration and desire' Observer 'Lively is at her sharpest, alert to every conceivable irony' Jonathan Coe, Guardian 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.

Pack of Cards

Pack of Cards

Author: Penelope Lively Format: Paperback Release Date: 03/12/1987

A collection of short stories by Booker Prize winning author Penelope Lively In Pack of Cards Penelope Lively's gifts of acute perception and wry humour are distilled into a unique collection of mesmerizing stories. 'Confirms her as the most original and piercing writer now working in that most unsparing of genres - short stories' 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.

Perfect Happiness

Perfect Happiness

Author: Penelope Lively Format: Paperback Release Date: 31/01/1985

Perfect Happiness is the fifth novel by Booker Prize winning author Penelope Lively. Frances, happily married for many years, and suddenly plunged into mourning. Her international celebrity husband Steve has died leaving her unprepared and vulnerable. At first she is completely submerged in her own loss until, shocked into feeling by the unexpected revelations and private sufferings of others, she is drawn agonizingly into new life - not into perfect happiness but into the sunlight of new hope. Penelope Lively's moving and beautifully observed novel illuminates two terrifying taboos of the twentieth-century - death and grief. 'A triumph' Spectator 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.

Next to Nature, Art

Next to Nature, Art

Author: Penelope Lively Format: Paperback Release Date: 26/01/1984

Next to Nature, Art is the fourth novel by Booker Prize winning author Penelope Lively. Run by Toby and Paula, the centre offers ordinary people a chance to learn from professional artists skilled in poetry, sculpture, ceramics, and the like. Artists like Greg, the New England poet, whose works are strangely absent; or Bob the lascivious potter who sells his Toby jugs to department stores. As the latest group of students arrives, tensions begin to run high and artistic temperaments are much on display. In fact much more is learnt about expressing oneself than was ever suggested on the prospectus. 'Delightful . . . complex and exquisite. Penelope Lively's prose is beautiful and spare and she is a master of understatement' Daily Telegraph 'Her economy and wit are apparent on every page . . . it all leads to a splendid climax . . . wonderful, sensible, funny Penelope Lively' Evening Standard 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.

Judgement Day

Judgement Day

Author: Penelope Lively Format: Paperback Release Date: 26/08/1982

Judgement Day is the third novel by Booker Prize winning author Penelope Lively. Settled into the drowsy village life of Laddenham, where she is playing camp follower to her highly successful husband - clever, agnostic and interested - Clare Paling discovers that small communities offer interesting sideshows of adultery, gossip and carefully adhered to pecking orders. It takes the pageant celebrating the church's fourth centenary and an unpardonable death to remind Clare, who had almost forgotten, that the world is a very uncertain place. 'Beautiful and brillliant' Auberon Waugh 'I find Penelope Lively almost excessively gifted . . . the most enjoyable novel I have read for a very long time indeed' 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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