Biography books & True Stories

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As Alan Bennett says ‘life is rather like a tin of sardines - we're all of us looking for the key’; certainly there is no better place to start than the biography, that place where records are set straight and axes on occasion ground.

This season, highlights include Bennett himself returning with his third volume of matchless diaries in Keeping On Keeping On and (perhaps surprisingly) we have the first comprehensive retrospective of key British author Angela Carter in The Invention of Angela Carter, a talent lost to us far too soon.

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Paperbacks of the Year


Lives of the Rich and Famous


12 Compelling Diary Entries from a Writer You’ve Never Heard Of

Simon Garfield is an author and journalist who has been publishing works of non-fiction for thirty years. His bestselling On The Map allowed armchair explorers to travel through the paradoxically illuminating and illusory world of map-making. He was awarded the Somerset Maugham Prize for his 1994 work The End Of Innocence: Britain in the Time of Aids.

Jean Lucey Pratt kept a meticulous journal in secret for sixty years from 1925- 1985. Her candid and lyrical observations shed light on mid-twentieth century life and a time of great social turmoil. Garfield has edited her numerous notebooks down to one fascinating volume titled A Notable Woman. Here he shares twelve highlights.

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Living History


Literary Lives


Opening a Pandora's Box

Since its publication last month, Keggie Carew’s extraordinary and utterly unique memoir Dadland has attracted heady praise across the board with a narrative that at once manages to be both clear-eyed but moving in equal measure. Father Tom Carew flourished in war but subsequently floundered in peace, ultimately setting his daughter on a very personal voyage of unexpected discovery

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Lives Remembered – Memoirs and Autobiographies


Lives Collected – Reference and Biographical Collections


Paperback Highlights


Soul Reason

Thomas Harding's previous work was the Sunday Times Bestseller Hanns and Rudolf, a gripping and moving account of how his great uncle ended up arresting notorious Auschwitz commandant Rudloph Hoss. Harding's current work, The House by the Lake, has been likened to the history of twentieth century Germany as told through the prism of one single house. Here, Harding tells the story of how he first came to know the house and later, how he came to rebuild it.

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