Penelope Lively

An award-winning British novelist, short story writer and children’s writer, Penelope Lively was born and brought up in Cairo before moving to Britain in 1945. Her early novels included many of her best-loved works for children including The Ghost of Thomas Kempe, which won the Carnegie Medal, and A Stitch in Time, which won the Whitbread Children's Book Award. Her first work for adults was the 1997 novel The Road to Lichfield which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize. Lively was nominated for the prize a second time in 1984 for According to Mark and she later won the award for her acclaimed novel Moon Tiger in 1987.

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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 is also a wise, engaging and far-ranging exploration of gardens in literature, from Paradise Lost to Alice in Wonderland, and of writers and their gardens, from Virginia Woolf to Philip Larkin.

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Fiction 

The Road To Lichfield
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Treasures of Time
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Perfect Happiness
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According to Mark
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Moon Tiger
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City of the Mind
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Heat Wave
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Spiderweb
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The Photograph
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Making It Up
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Consequences
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Family Album
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How It All Began
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Moon Tiger
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Cleopatra's Sister
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Non-Fiction

Oleander, Jacaranda
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Ammonites and Leaping Fish
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Life in the Garden
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Books for Children

The House in Norham Gardens
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The Ghost of Thomas Kempe
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A Stitch in Time
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Penelope Lively Biography

The author of more than forty novels, Lively’s work is characterised by an acute interest in memory and the relationship between personal experience and history. She says of her own work, ‘while I would not suggest the construction of fiction as an alternative to religious belief, it does seem to me that many writers - and I am certainly one - look at it as an opportunity to perceive and explain pattern and meaning in human existence’.

Other notable works include: Passing On, City of the Mind, Cleopatra’s Sister, Heat Wave, Beyond the Blue Mountains, The Photograph, Making It Up, Consequences, Family Album (which was shortlisted for the 2009 Costa Novel Award) and How It All Began as well as the autobiographical works: Oleander, Jacaranda (a memoir of her childhood days in Egypt), Ammonites and Leaping Fish and A House Unlocked. In 2017 she published Life in the Garden about her own life through gardens and gardens in literature.

Penelope Lively was awarded an OBE in 1989, a CBE in 2001 and a DBE in 2012.