Beloved memoirist (A House Unlocked), children's book author (The Ghost of Thomas Kempe), and Booker Prize winner Penelope Lively is perhaps best known for smart, literate thrillers that look to the past for keys to understanding, like 2003's The Photograph. "I'm not an historian," Lively told Britain's The Observer, "but I can get interested -- obsessively interested -- with any aspect of the past."
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Date of Birth:
March 17, 1933
Place of Birth:
Honors Degree in Modern History, University of Oxford, England, 1955
Arts Council National Book Award, 1979; Southern Arts Literature Prize, 1981; Carnegie Medal, 1973; Whitbread Award, 1976; Booker Prize, 1987
|Today Show Pick!|
Lively's 13th novel tells the story of Glyn Peters, a widower who discovers a long-lost photograph (and love letter) that provides the devastating proof of a recent affair between his wife and her brother-in-law. Recently selected by Alice Hoffman for Today's Book Club!
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|In an interview with Barnes & Noble.com, Lively cited Alan Lang's classic Tales of Troy and Greece as a book that had a great influence over her as a young girl. "The great stories of Greek mythology fired me more than anything -- the siege of Troy, the wanderings of Odysseus, Jason and the Golden Fleece, the Minotaur -- all of it," she recalls. "I acted out the stories on my own, playing in the large garden that became the backdrop for it all -- Troy and everywhere else. And of course I was in there anyway -- Penelope -- but with what I saw as the dud part, sitting at home weaving while the action was elsewhere."|
|The Best Book to Read First||Favorite Writers & Reads|
Lively won the Booker Prize (after being shortlisted for 1987's The Road to Lichfield and 1984's According to Mark) for this 1987 novel about a dying author's last musings. "A powerful, moving and beautifully wrought novel about the ways in which lives are molded by personal memory and the collective past," said The Boston Globe in its review.
Lively told us that Willa Cather's My Antonia is a favorite. "I love it for the sharpness of its imagery, which conjures up frontier life in the way that only words could do," she reflects. "Cather never wanted a film to be made of it, and quite right too -- her image of the ploughshare silhouetted against the vast setting sun stands best in the mind, just like that." Read our interview to learn more about Lively's favorite books, including:
|Photo by Robin Matthews||