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Nina Stibbe grew up in Leicestershire before moving to London in the 1980s. She is the author of the massively acclaimed Love, Nina, and lives with her partner and children in Cornwall.
Author photo © Rebecca Dawe
Comedy Women in Print Prize 2020 Winner A smirky, fabulously quirky, poignant novel and an absolute joy to read. It is 1980, Lizzie is 18, she starts a new job working for a dentist, moves into her own flat, and thinks she may have got herself a boyfriend (but isn’t entirely sure). Lizzie is a total delight, her courage, spirit and pithy observations mix into a heady cocktail alongside her apprehension and doubt. The other characters are beautifully realised in their own right, every utterance perfectly placed, it is difficult to pick just one out as when I called them forward in my mind, they clambered over each in a riot of energy. Nina Stibbe excels in the small, in fact the incy wincy details that are so beautifully observed you didn’t know they were missing until you read them, and could see and feel the entire picture. The understanding of human frailty and poignancy of human absurdity is so wonderfully explored. There is something compelling about the writing that lodged in my mind, and took up residence in my heart. I snorted (yes actually snorted) out loud with laughter and while heartache and break is never far away, thoroughly loved every word of Reasons To Be Cheerful, it’s just gorgeous!
My mother is not a foodie. But for as long as I can remember, once a year, she becomes possessed of a profound and desperate need to serve up a perfect roast turkey. Faced with a walk into the village though, she might think 'oh, f*** it' and decide to get a frozen one from Bejams on the 23rd and leave it to defrost in the downstairs toilet for not quite 48 hours.
Fabulously funny, sharp and yet also touching and poignant, this semi-autobiographical novel from Nina Stibbe is wonderfully captivating and engaging. Two sisters (aged 11 and 9), conclude that finding their newly divorced mother a man will lead to happiness and turnaround the distinct unwelcome the family received after moving to a new home in 1970. Stibbe writes in such a way that you feel you are there, in that very moment, helping to plot an often unwittingly devious and destructive strategy. Achingly sad, moving and outrageous in turn, this evocative well observed novel shows how children know more than we think, think more than they should and have the ability to bounce back from adversity time after time. Just a quick bit of advice; snorts, giggles and guffaws will escape at will, so think carefully before reading in public. ~ Liz Robinson
January 2015 Guest Editor Harriet Evans on Love, Nina... I need a book that gives me a warm safe glow come winter and this is that book. It is genuinely hilarious. I don’t know anyone else who has quite the same turn of phrase, sharp and surreal at the same time. It’s a series of letters written by Nina Stibbe to her sister when she was a nanny for a family in North London in the Eighties. People like Alan Bennett pop round for tea and bring casseroles. The devil is all in the detail and it’s just wonderful, you can open any page on any letter and be smiling seconds later. Winner of the Non-Fiction Book of the Year at the Specsavers National Book Awards 2014. In 1982 Nina Stibbe, a 20-year-old from Leicester, moved to London to work as a nanny for a very particular family. It was a perfect match: Nina had no idea how to cook, look after children or who the weirdos were who called round.
Penguin presents the audiobook edition of An Almost Perfect Christmas written and read by Nina Stibbe. I vowed from a young age never to cook a turkey and I never have - unless you count turkey mince (which you dont). Ive seen the damage turkeys can do and the tyrannical hold they have over otherwise robust, rational people and my mother. My mother is not a foodie. But for as long as I can remember, once a year, she becomes possessed of a profound and desperate need to serve up a perfect roast turkey. Faced with a walk into the village though, she might think oh, fuck it and decide to get a frozen one from Bejams on the 23rd and leave it to defrost in the downstairs toilet for not quite 48 hours. From dry turkeys to Christmas pudding fires, from the perfect present for teacher to the risks and rewards of re-gifting, Nina Stibbe offers her inimitable wisdom and humour on the most wonderful time of the year.
A delightful story of growing up, getting old, and every step in between, from the acclaimed author of Man at the Helm and Love, Nina.After succeeding in her quest to help her unconventional mother find a new "e;man at the helm,"e; fifteen-year-old Lizzie Vogel simply wants to be a normal teenager. Just when it looks as if things have settled down, her mother goes and has another baby. On top of that, Lizzie's best friend has deserted her for the punk craze, which Lizzie finds too exhausting to commit to herself. But Lizzie soon gets more commitment than she bargained for when she takes a job as a junior nurse at Paradise Lodge, a ramshackle refuge for the elderly that has seen better days. It's no place for a teenager, much less one with as little experience emptying a bedpan as Lizzie. What begins as away to avoid school and earn some spending money (for the finer things in life, like real coffee and beer shampoo) quickly turns into the education of a lifetime. Lizzie encounters a colorful cast of eccentric characters--including a nurse determined to turn one of the patients into a husband (and a retirement plan); an efficient but clueless nun trying to modernize the place; and Lizzie's unlikely first love--who become her surrogate family. When Paradise Lodge faces a crisis in the form of a rival nursing home with enough amenities to make even the comatose jealous, Lizzie must find a way to save her job before she loses the only place she's ever felt she belongs. A hilarious and heartfelt coming-of-age tale, Paradise Lodge proves that it's never too early--or too late--to grow up.
A New York Times Notable Book of 2015From the writer of the hugely acclaimed Love, Nina comes a sharply funny debut novel about a gloriously eccentric family. Soon after her parents' separation, nine-year-old Lizzie Vogel moves with her siblings and newly single mother to a tiny village in the English countryside, where the new neighbors are horrified by their unorthodox ways and fatherless household. Lizzie's theatrical mother only invites more gossip by spending her days drinking whiskey, popping pills, and writing plays. The one way to fit in, the children decide, will be to find themselves a new man at the helm. The first novel from a remarkably gifted writer with a voice all her own, MAN AT THE HELM is a hilarious and occasionally heart-breaking portrait of childhood in an unconventional family.
"e;Breezy, sophisticated, hilarious, rude and aching with sweetness: LOVE, NINA might be the most charming book I've ever read."e; --Maria Semple, author of Where'd You Go, BernadetteIn 1982, 20-year-old Nina Stibbe moved to London to work as a nanny to two opinionated and lively young boys. In frequent letters home to her sister, Nina described her trials and triumphs: there's a cat nobody likes, suppertime visits from a famous local playwright, a mysteriously unpaid milk bill, and repeated misadventures parking the family car. Dinner table discussions cover the gamut, from the greats of English literature, to swearing in German, to sexually transmitted diseases. There's no end to what Nina can learn from these boys (rude words) and their broad-minded mother (the who's who of literary London).A charming, hilarious, sweetly inspiring celebration of bad food and good company, Love, Nina makes a young woman's adventures in a new world come alive.