• Biography & True Stories
      March 2017


      by John Berger, Selcuk Demirel

      'Once upon a time, men, women, and (secretly) children smoked.' Following the success of Cataract, John Berger, one of the great soothsayers of seeing, joins forces again with Turkish illustrator Selcuk Demirel. This charming pictorial essay reflects on the cultural implications of smoking.

    • Biography: general
      June 2018

      Knight: Yorkshireman, Storyteller, Spy

      by Greg Christie

      Biography of best-selling novelist, Eric Knight whose work was praised by the literary establishment of the 1930s, but whose greatest acheivements were overshadowed by his biggest hit - he was the author of 'Lassie Come-Home'. A child immigrant to the USA, Eric Knight enlisted in Canada and returned to England to face the horrors of WWI, having already escaped once from the deprivation of the Yorkshire mill towns His biography is an epic account that spans some of the key historical moments early in the last century. With a creative mind, and a formidable spirit that sustained him from the trenches of Ypres, and through the Depression, to literary success and acclaim, he did not shy away from defending his native England once more – as confidant to the US President, he supported the efforts to bring the US into WWII which led to his untimely death in the service of the OSS, the forerunner to the US Central Intelligence Agency.

    • Literary studies: general
      October 2003

      A Scholar's Tale

      Intellectual Journey of a Displaced Child of Europe

      by Geoffrey Hartman

    • Biography: literary

      Hunting the Unicorn

      A Critical Biography of Ruth Pitter

      by Don King (author)

      An important addition to the literature on modern English poets and poetryA significant poet in her own right, Ruth Pitter has long deserved this biography, which thoughtfully assesses her place in the British poetic landscape. Popular in the United Kingdom from the early 1930s until her death in 1992, Pitter won the Hawthornden Prize for Literature in 1937 for A Trophy of Arms and was the first woman to win the Queen’s Gold Medal for poetry in 1955. A working artisan from Chelsea, she lived through World War I and World War II and appeared often on BBC radio and television. Pitter had close relationships with C. S. Lewis, Owen Barfield, Lord David Cecil, and other Inklings. Author Don W. King’s exploration of these notable friendships brings a critical perspective to Pitter’s remarkable life and work.Once she found her poetic voice, Pitter created work that is profound, amusing, and beautiful. The lyricism and accessibility of her poems reflect her personality—humorous, independent, brave, kind, stern, proud, and humble. King draws on Pitter’s personal journals and letters to present this overview of her life and also offers a close, critical reading of Pitter’s poetry, tracing her development as a poet.Hunting the Unicorn is the first treatment to discuss the entire body of Pitter’s verse. It will appeal to scholars and general readers as it places Pitter into the overall context of twentieth-century British poetry and portrays a rather modest, hardworking woman who also “witnessed” the world through the lens of a gifted poet.

    • Literary studies: poetry & poets

      The Reluctant Redhead

      by Eluned Phillips

    • Diaries, letters & journals

      Robert Burns

      A Life in Letters

      by George Scott. Wilkie

    • Biography: literary

      Charles Dickens

      Hard Times and Great Expectations

      by Alan. Taylor

    • Biography: literary

      J.k. Rowling

      The Mystery of Fiction

      by Lindsey. Fraser

    • Biography: literary
      February 2011

      Kate Roberts

      by Kate Gramich (Author)

      When the Welsh writer Kate Roberts died in 1985 at the age of 94, the Times obituary noted that ‘she was felt by many to rank with Maupassant as one of the leading European short story writers’. Roberts is widely acknowledged as the major twentieth-century novelist and short story writer to have written in the Welsh language, being known and revered in Wales as ‘the Queen of our Literature’. Much of her work has been translated into English and other languages and yet she remains today relatively little known and under-appreciated in comparison, for example, with other female contemporaries who wrote in English, such as Virginia Woolf, Katherine Mansfield, and Elizabeth Bowen. This volume seeks to redress the balance, bringing the life and work of this extraordinary novelist, playwright, short story writer, journalist, and ardent political campaigner to the attention of the wider world audience that the sheer quality of her writing deserves.

    • Memoirs

      A Little Book of Pleasures

      by William Wood

      This delightful anecdotal collection, told with wry humour and a gentle, sometimes quirky style slightly reminiscent of a bygone era, contains a mixture of description and observation, with a smattering of autobiographical incident. William Wood has lived in many places of the world, is well travelled and well written, with a keen sense of enjoyment of what he sees and experiences, and a talent for bringing that visually to the mind of his reader. The short, usually self-contained pieces make wonderful cameos both for those who do their reading in snatches, and those who will want to devour his stories in one sitting.

    • Biography: literary

      Darling Ro and The Benet Women

      The Eisenhower Administration, Britain, and Singapore

      by Evelyn Helmick Hively (author)

      The first book-length study of a gifted American writer and her life during the 1920sThe Benét name immediately evokes Stephen Vincent and his older brother William Rose, Pulitzer Prize–winning poets and novelists during the first half of the twentieth century. Less well remembered are the remarkable women related to the Benét brothers, including Rosemary Carr, Stephen’s wife; Laura, his sister; Elinor Wylie, William’s second wife; and Kathleen Norris, the popular novelist who raised the children of her brother-in-law William.Darling Ro and the Benét Women presents a revealing glimpse of social and literary life in New York and Paris during the 1920s. Using a recently released collection of letters from the Benét Collection at Yale University, author Evelyn Helmick Hively extracts captivating anecdotes and impressions about a talented group of writers and impressive feminist figures. Written by Rosemary Carr Benét to her mother, Dr. Rachel Hickey Carr (one of Chicago’s first women physicians), the compilation of letters and short dispatches from Paris provides the focus of the book.A gifted poet and journalist, Rosemary Carr was a prolific writer of articles for the New York Herald-Tribune, Harper’s Bazaar, and Vogue; of stories and poems for The New Yorker and other magazines; and hundreds of letters. She belonged to a remarkably skillful, social, and artistic group of men and women who bonded early in life, and her letters paint fascinating portraits of their lives, careers, and relationships.Darling Ro and the Benét Women offers an insider’s perspective of a well-known cosmopolitan American family.

    • Biography: literary

      Jim Tully

      American Writer, Irish Rover, Hollywood Brawler

      by Paul Bauer (author), Mark Dawidziak (author)

      The first biography of the vagabond, hard-boiled writer who rocked Hollywood during the Roaring TwentiesThe son of an Irish ditch-digger, Jim Tully (1886–1947) left his hometown of St. Marys, Ohio, in 1901, spending most of his teenage years in the company of hoboes. Drifting across the country as a “road kid,” he spent those years scrambling into boxcars, sleeping in hobo jungles, avoiding railroad cops, begging meals from back doors, and haunting public libraries. After six years on the road, he jumped off a railroad car in Kent, Ohio, with wild aspirations of becoming a writer. While chasing his dream, Tully worked as a chain maker, boxer, newspaper reporter, and tree surgeon. All the while he was crafting his memories of the road into a dark and astonishing chronicle of the American underclass.After moving to Hollywood and working for Charlie Chaplin, Tully began to write a stream of critically acclaimed books mostly about his road years, including Beggars of Life, Circus Parade, Blood on the Moon, Shadows of Men, and Shanty Irish. He quickly established himself as a major American author and used his status to launch a parallel career as a Hollywood journalist. Much as his gritty books shocked the country, his magazine articles on movies shocked Hollywood. Along the way, he picked up such close friends as W. C. Fields, Jack Dempsey, Damon Runyon, Lon Chaney, Frank Capra, and Erich von Stroheim. He also memorably crossed paths with Jack London, F. Scott Fitzgerald, George Bernard Shaw, James Joyce, and Langston Hughes.The definitive biography of a remarkable writer, Jim Tully: American Writer, Irish Rover, Hollywood Brawler compellingly describes the hardscrabble life of an Irish American storyteller, from his immigrant roots, rural upbringing, and life as a hobo riding the rails to the emergent dream factory of early and Golden Age Hollywood and the fall of his fortunes during the Great Depression.Many saw the dark side of the American dream, but none wrote about it like Jim Tully.

    • Biography & True Stories

      Dalek I Loved You

      by Nick Griffiths

      Nick Griffiths watched his first Doctor Who aged four and a bit. He would have hidden behind the sofa but it was back against the wall and his parents didn't let him move furniture so he hid behind a cushion instead. He's since been told by his mum and dad that they didn't have a sofa only armchairs. So this book should really be called Behind the Armchair, but that didn't sound right. And so began a life long obsession. When Doctor Who started getting rubbish (after Tom Baker basically) he nearly escaped into the world of music and girls until he discovered someone selling tapes of old episodes in the small ads and that was that again. Only in the last few years has an anti-social obsession become something he can earn a living from as a journalist and happily this coincided with Doctor Who getting good again. Plus he has a son now so he can claim he's watching it for him. Oh and his son's called Dylan not Gallifrey or Davros. "A very funny book for anyone who grew up wearing Tom Baker underpants - I know I did." DAVID TENNANT

    • Literature & Literary Studies

      Life as a Literary Device

      Writer’s Manual of Survival

      by Vitali Vitaliev

      “We're both interested in the history of the 20th century, but he's lived it, and I've been a spectator.” Clive James -- 31 January 2010 marks the 20th anniversary of Vitali Vitaliev’s defection from the Soviet Union to the West. In Life as a Literary Device Vitaliev offers readers not only a glimpse into how literature has affected his life, but also a survival manual for the Western world, a way of life much removed from that lived in the USSR. At once a highly entertaining account of a life that has encompassed roles as diverse as “Clive James’ Moscow man” to researcher and writer for QI and many newspapers, Life as a Literary Device is also a serious treatise on the power of literature. The 20th anniversary of Vitaliev’s defection highlights his profound insight into the differences of life in the West and in the Soviet Union (indeed, Vitali claims that life in the West is in many ways harsher than life under the Soviet regime) and also offers a personal lens through which to view the USSR and its eventual collapse in 1991. Life As A Literary Device is both a summation and a new beginning for Vitaliev – an analysis of how literature has helped him to survive in the modern, and Western, world.From the author: “Life as a Literary Device has neither beginning nor end; nor does it fit in with any existing literary genre: partly a memoir, partly a novel, partly a meditation, partly a poem, partly a diary, partly a dream, partly a survival kit, partly one extended metaphor…” for writer's life, i.e. indeed a 'literary device'. I keep looking back at my life: at the places I visited, the pieces I wrote and the people I met. Memory is like a scrap book – a cut-andpaste job.”

    • Memoirs

      Across the Wide Zambezi

      A Doctor's Life in Africa

      by Warren Durrant

      A British GP, 39, unmarried, looking for something more exciting than signing sick-notes in Wallasey, sees advert in The British Medical Journal for a medical officer to a timber firm in West Africa. At the London office finds he is the only applicant. Flies out to Ghana, is taken up country to the town where he finds he is to be the sole doctor in area as big as an English county and thousands of people. He will do everything from major surgery to public health. This is to be the pattern of his life for the next twenty-two years. Work described and life of people, white and black: many characters. After 18 months returns home. Discovers Africa is in his blood. Seeks further training in a larger hospital. Goes to a mine hospital in Zambia. Life and people described. Many characters. Safari to East Africa. Returns home after two years through Congo. Decides to settle in Africa. Goes to Rhodesia. Further training. Appointed district medical officer. Civil war. Learns war surgery. Gunfight at the Troutbeck Inn. Peace. Rhodesia becomes Zimbabwe. Romance. Marries matron. They have two children. Family life. Decides no future for children in Zimbabwe. Returns to England with family. This book describes much medical experience but is above all a human story, with many adventures and characters. WD.

    • Biography & True Stories
      March 2013

      The Clouds Still Hang

      The Complete Trilogy

      by Patrick C Notchtree

      A trilogy telling a story of love and loyalty, betrothal and betrayal, triumph and tragedy; charting one gay man's attempts to rise above the legacy of a traumatic childhood.The first book deals with Simon's childhood friendship and eventually love affair with an older boy and early sexualisation, the second the trauma of his teenage years and early adulthood, the third his struggle to maintain equilibrium and the disastrous consequences of his failure at one point to achieve that and his fight back to self acceptance.Based on the author's own life, it will strike a chord with many who have been through similar things, as well as those with an interest in such matters, either personal or professional, such as police and probation officers, those involved with the gay / LGBT community etc.It's a varied, exciting, demanding, sometimes terrifying life story. Of adult nature in places, it contains some explicit sexual narrative, including sexual violence.

    • Literary Fiction
      December 2013


      Mistress of Max Gate

      by Peter TAIT

      The Second Mrs Hardy From the moment she first met Thomas Hardy in 1905, having written him an admiring letter, Florence Dugdale seemed destined for controversy. Her presence at Max Gate, both before and after the death of Hardy’s first wife Emma, and her clandestine courtship with a man nearly forty years her senior sparked suspicion among the locals and scorn from the Gifford family. She had wanted to be a writer herself, but was drawn into Hardy’s life as his ‘secretary’ and companion, and within a year of their own marriage was humiliated by his publication of poems commemorating the late Emma and his painful relationship with her. Yet in the posthumous biography of her husband that bore her name she would tell the ‘truth’ and at last achieve the acclaim she sought – or so she had imagined, until that fiction too began to unravel. After fourteen years of marriage, and despite her own gifts and her life thereafter, her fate was to be remembered by her obituary tag in a national newspaper – ‘helpmate to genius’. Her love life stunted, her literary ambitions thwarted, disowned by the Stoker family and satirized by Somerset Maugham – Florence’s lot was an unenviable one. Why did she put up with it all? In his compelling recreation of Florence’s life, Peter Tait tells of a letter, one that Hardy had written to her on the eve of their wedding, which she kept until her death, when, under instructions, it was destroyed … ‘And with it died part of the secret, the secret that helped explain Florence. For, as Thomas found out to his cost, there was more to Florence than was evident from their first meeting. And so began their trail of deceptions, first of Emma, then of their friends and, finally, of us all.’

    • Biography: literary
      April 2013

      Jane Austen & Adlestrop

      Her Other Family

      by Victoria Huxley

      The story of Jane Austen's links with the idyllic village of Adlestrop and Stoneleigh Abbey, the ancestral home of the two branch of the Leigh family, has not yet been fully told. Jane's mother, Cassandra, was a Leigh, a dynasty that boasted an Elizabethan Lord Mayor, ducal marriage alliances, a peerage granted by Charles I, eccentric Oxford luminaries, as well as the spectre of lunacy and bitter inheritance quarrels. Jane Austen visited Adlestrop at least three times and kept in constant touch with events there by letter. It wasi n Gloucestershire that she first heard of Humphry Repton wo was emplyed by the Leighs and saw at first hand how the 18th century craze for improvements totally changed the village. Jane Austen & Adlestrop opens up a fresh window on the author's life and experience and is also a portrayal of archetypal English village's journey through the last two hundred years.

    • Biography: literary
      October 2012

      Fifty Years in the Fiction Factory

      The Working Life of Herbert Allingham - 1867-1836

      by Julia Jones

      Fifty Years in the Fiction Factory is probably one for the academic market as it's the outcome of a PhD thesis and several years funded-research into a unique archive now deposited with the Unversity of Westminster. It is however written in a style that is completely accessible to the general reader and was praised by reviewers in a range of publications such as the TLS, History Today, The Oldie, the Church Times and The Literary Review. Herbert Allingham was the father of detective novelist Margery Allingham but he was also a dedicated writer of serial fiction for the cheapest papers in the Great Age of Print. Allingham was writing for the newly literate but he never patronised or wrote-down to this audience. Fifty Years in the Fiction Factory is a social history, a contributionto the history of reading and a portrait of an intelligent, conscientious, attractive fiction producer. Allingham wrote millions of words and entertained millions of people but he was almost always anonymous and was never published in book form. He would have been forgotten like so many of his peers had his daughters, Margery and Joyce, not loved and admired him sufficently to preserve his diaries, account books, letters from editors and file copies of the ephemeral story papers in which his work was published. Julia Jones inherited this archive and her PhD research was fully-funded by the Arts and Humanities research Council. The thesis (Family Fictions 2006) has been completely rewritten for this attractively presented biography which uses a large number of rare illustrations from the penny papers where Allingham's stories appeared. Professor Jenny Hartley called it "an important contribition to book history."

    • Biography & True Stories
      November 2014

      The Soho Don

      by Michael Connor

      The Soho Don is the story of a shy south London boy from a respectable family who became a shadowy, but powerful figure in the Soho, Mayfair and Brighton underworlds.

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