Related to: 'Memento Mori'

Virago

The Observing Eye

Muriel Spark
Authors:
Muriel Spark

The Observing Eye is a collection of Muriel Spark's brilliant asides, sayings, and aphorisms. No other writer can hold a candle to her wry, puckish observations:'Neurotics are awfully quick to notice other people's mentalities.''It is impossible to persuade a man who does not disagree, but smiles.''The sacrifice of pleasure is of course itself a pleasure.''Be on the alert to recognize your prime at whatever time in your life it may occur.''Ridicule is the only honourable weapon we have left.'Spark's striking insights are precise and unforgettable - they will make you laugh and nod in agreement, with a wicked smile on your face. Her wise words never fail to hit exactly the right note.

Virago

Territorial Rights

Muriel Spark
Authors:
Muriel Spark

Robert wants nothing more than to become a serious art historian. But his hopes for an academic life are put on hold when he's driven from London to Venice to escape one lover and seek out another: the enigmatic Bulgarian refugee Lina Pancev. In Venice, Robert encounters a grand carnival of lust, lies, blackmail, cocktail parties and regicide. As he chases Lina, his heart's desire, the city itself provides a priceless education in love, art and beauty.

Virago

The Public Image

Muriel Spark
Authors:
Muriel Spark
Virago

The Comforters

Muriel Spark
Authors:
Muriel Spark
Virago

Loitering With Intent

Muriel Spark
Authors:
Muriel Spark

A funny and clever novel about art and reality and the way they imitate each other, from the author of The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie. With an introduction by Mark Lawson.Would-be novelist Fleur Talbot works for the snooty, irascible Sir Quentin Oliver at the Autobiographical Association, whose members are all at work on their memoirs. When her employer gets his hands on Fleur's novel-in-progress, mayhem ensues as its scenes begin coming true... Spark's inimitable style make this literary joyride thoroughly appealing.'The most gloriously entertaining novel since The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie.' AN Wilson, Spectator'I read this book in a delirium of delight ... robust and full-bodied, a wise and mature work, and a brilliantly mischievous one.' New York Times Book Review

Virago

Symposium

Muriel Spark
Authors:
Muriel Spark

'The greatest Scottish novelist of modern times . . . She was peerless, sparkling, inventive and intelligent - the crème de la crème.' Ian RankinOne October evening five London couples gather for a dinner party, enjoying 'the pheasant (flambe in cognac as it is)' and waiting for the imminent arrival of the late-coming guest Hilda Damien, who has been unavoidably detained due to the fact that she is being murdered at this very moment.With an introduction by Ian Rankin.Symposium is Muriel Spark - one of the greatest writers of the twentieth century and author of classics including The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie - at her wicked best. 'A rich, heady, disturbing brew.' Lorna Sage'Extremely clever and highly entertaining.' Penelope Lively'Stiletto-sharp fiction.' Alan Taylor, Scotland on Sunday

Virago

The Mandelbaum Gate

Muriel Spark
Authors:
Muriel Spark
Virago

A Far Cry From Kensington

Muriel Spark
Authors:
Muriel Spark

Alexander McCall Smith

Alexander McCall Smith is the author of over eighty books on a wide array of subjects, including the award-winning The No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency series. He is also the author of the Isabel Dalhousie novels and the world's longest-running serial novel, 44 Scotland Street. His books have been translated into forty-six languages. Alexander McCall Smith is Professor Emeritus of Medical Law at the University of Edinburgh and holds honorary doctorates from thirteen universities.

Angela Thirkell

Angela Thirkell (1890-1961) was the eldest daughter of John William Mackail, a Scottish classical scholar and civil servant, and Margaret Burne-Jones. Her relatives included the pre-Raphaelite artist Edward Burne-Jones, Rudyard Kipling and Stanley Baldwin, and her grandfather was J. M. Barrie. She was educated in London and Paris, and began publishing articles and stories in the 1920s. In 1931 she brought out her first book, a memoir entitled Three Houses, and in 1933 her comic novel High Rising - set in the fictional county of Barsetshire, borrowed from Trollope - met with great success. She went on to write nearly thirty Barsetshire novels, as well as several further works of fiction and non-fiction. She was twice married and had four children.

Anna Seghers

ANNA SEGHERS (1900-1983) was born Netty Reiling in Mainz, Germany, into a Jewish family. In 1924 she received a doctorate in Art History from the University of Heidelberg, and in the same year her first story, written under the name Antje Seghers, was published. During this time, she came into contact with many left-wing intellectuals, including her husband, a Hungarian economist, and began writing in earnest. By the end of 1928, Anna Seghers had joined the Communist Party, given birth to two children and was awarded the Kleist Prize for her first novel, The Revolt of the Fishermen of St Barbara.As Jew, a Communist and a revolutionary writer, she was blacklisted in Nazi Germany and left for France in 1933 with her family. After the Nazi invasion in 1940, she was forced to flee again and, with the aid of Varian Fry, she and her family sailed from Marseilles to Mexico on a ship that included Victor Serge, André Breton and Claude Lévi-Strauss among its passengers.Seghers gained international recognition with The Seventh Cross (1942), which became a bestseller. It was the basis for the 1944 MGM film starring Spencer Tracy and was one of the only depictions of Nazi concentration camps during the Second World War in either literature or film. It has been translated into more than thirty languages.After the war Seghers moved to East Berlin, where she became a prominent figure of East German letters, actively championing the work of younger writers from her position as president of the Writers Union. Among Seghers' internationally acclaimed works are The Seventh Cross; Transit (1944); Excursion of the Dead Girls (1945); The Dead Stay Young (1949); and the story collection Benito's Blue (1973).

Beryl Bainbridge

Beryl Bainbridge was one of the greatest living novelists. Author of seventeen novels, two travel books and five plays for stage and television, she was shortlisted for the Booker Prize five times, and won many literary awards including the Whitbread Prize and the Author of the Year Award at the British Book Awards. She died in July 2010.

Christopher Matthew

Christopher Matthew is the author of Now We Are Sixty, When We Were Fifty, The Man Who Dropped the Le Creuset on his Toe and Dog Treats. He lives in London and Suffolk.

Daphne Du Maurier

Daphne du Maurier (1907-89) was born in London, the daughter of the famous actor-manager Sir Gerald du Maurier and granddaughter of George du Maurier, the author and artist. In 1931 her first novel, The Loving Spirit, was published. A biography of her father and three other novels followed, but it was the novel Rebecca that launched her into the literary stratosphere and made her one of the most popular authors of her day. In 1932, du Maurier married Major Frederick Browning, with whom she had three children.Many of du Maurier's bestselling novels and short stories were adapted into award-winning films, including Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds and Nicolas Roeg's Don't Look Now. In 1969 du Maurier was awarded a DBE. She lived most of her life in Cornwall, the setting for many of her books.

David Sedaris

With sardonic wit and incisive social critiques, David Sedaris has become one of America's pre-eminent humor writers. The great skill with which he slices through cultural euphemisms and political correctness proves that Sedaris is a master of satire and one of the most observant writers addressing the human condition today. David Sedaris is the author of Barrel Fever and Holidays on Ice, as well as collections of personal essays, Naked, Me Talk Pretty One Day, Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim, When You Are Engulfed in Flames and his most recent book, Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls, each of which became an immediate bestseller. The audio version of Let's Explore Diabetes With Owls was a Grammy nominee for Best Spoken Word Album. He is the author of the New York Times-bestselling collection of fables entitled Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk: A Wicked Bestiary (with illustrations by Ian Falconer). He was also the editor of Children Playing Before a Statue of Hercules: An Anthology of Outstanding Stories. Sedaris's pieces appear regularly in the New Yorker and have twice been included in 'The Best American Essays'. There are a total of ten million copies of his books in print and they have been translated into twenty-nine languages.

J. Courtney Sullivan

J. COURTNEY SULLIVAN is the New York Times best-selling author of the novels The Engagements, Maine, and Commencement. Maine was named a 2011 Time magazine Best Book of the Year and a Washington Post Notable Book. The Engagements was one of People Magazine's Top Ten Books of 2013 and an Irish Times Best Book of the Year, and has been translated into seventeen languages. She has contributed to The New York Times Book Review, the Chicago Tribune, New York magazine, Elle, Glamour, Allure, Real Simple, and O: The Oprah Magazine, among many other publications. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Jilly Bond

JILLY BOND has recorded over 300 audiobooks and won four Audiofile Earphones Awards. She also regularly appears on stage, and has appeared at the National Theatre in "Island", at the Birmingham Repertory in "Jump!", Manchester Lowry in "Transmissions", the English Theatre of Hamburg in "Othello" and "Mrs Warren's Profession" and on the Edinburgh and London Fringes, including at the Finborough as human-rights lawyer Fethiye Cetin in "I Wish to Die Singing" which won the Best Play UK Studio Theatre Awards. She has recorded over 100 radio plays for the BBC, as well as playing Bridget in "The Archers", and TV work has includedDr Greene in "Doctors", Dr Jannatie in "Judge John Deed" and roles in "Comedy Nation", "People Like Us", "My Hero" & "Alastair McGowan's Big Impression".

Louisa May Alcott

Louisa May Alcott was born in Pennsylvania in 1832. Like the character of Jo March in Little Women, young Louisa didn't conform to the restrictions placed on girls of the period: 'No boy could be my friend till I had beaten him in a race,' she claimed, 'and no girl if she refused to climb trees, leap fences.' And, also like Jo, she was highly imaginative and writing was an early passion.As her family was often in financial difficulty, Louisa worked from a young age to support her family, taking any position available: a governess, domestic servant, seamstress and teacher were among her jobs. She also wrote poetry and short stories for popular magazines, and melodramatic novels under a pseudonym. When the American Civil War began, Louisa, who fervently opposed slavery, lamented that women weren't able to fight, and volunteered as a nurse at the Union Hospital in Georgetown, Washington. Her nursing career was brief as she contracted typhoid, but she wrote Hospital Sketches, a truthful and poignant account based on letters she wrote home to her family in Concord, and it was published to great acclaim.In 1868 Louisa was asked by her publisher to write 'a girls' story'. This resulted in Little Women, which is largely based on the experiences of the author and her three sisters. It was a phenomenal success. In a time when children's books were morality tales featuring idealised, two-dimensional protagonists, Little Women was revolutionary, peopled as it was by relatable, flawed, fully realised characters. Its success guaranteed financial stability for Louisa, who continued the March family's story in Good Wives, Little Men and Jo's Boys. Louisa never married, concluding that 'liberty is a better husband than love.' She died in 1888 and is buried in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Concord.

Maya Angelou

Dr Maya Angelou was one of the world's most important writers and activists. Born 4 April 1928, she lived and chronicled an extraordinary life: rising from poverty, violence and racism, she became a renowned author, poet, playwright, civil rights' activist - working with Malcolm X and Martin Luther King - and memoirist. She wrote and performed a poem, 'On the Pulse of Morning', for President Clinton on his inauguration; she was given the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Obama and was honoured by more than seventy universities throughout the world.She first thrilled the world with I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (1969). This was followed by six volumes of autobiography, the seventh and final volume, Mom & Me & Mom, published in 2013. She wrote three collections of essays; many volumes of poetry, including His Day is Done, a tribute to Nelson Mandela; and two cookbooks. She had a lifetime appointment as Reynolds Professor of American Studies at Wake Forest University of North Carolina. Dr Angelou died on 28 May 2014.

Michele Roberts

Half-English/half-French, Michèle Roberts was born in 1949. DAUGHTERS OF THE HOUSE (1992) was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and won the W.H. Smith Literary Award. She has just been appointed Professor of Creative Writing at UEA.