“A fresh, opinionated history of all the brilliant women you should have learned about in school but didn’t”
Blending meticulous research with information gleaned from memoirs, diaries, letters, novels and other secondary sources, Bloody Brilliant Women uses the stories of some extraordinary lives to tell the tale of 20th and 21st century Britain.
Well researched and eloquently written, this is an original history book with something for everyone.
* reprinting, currently oos 7.12.20
What could be a more tempting Christmas gift than a compendium of David Sedaris's best stories, selected by the author himself? From a spectacular career spanning almost three decades, these stories have become modern classics and are now for the first time collected in one volume. For more than twenty-five years, David Sedaris has been carving out a unique literary space, virtually creating his own genre. A Sedaris story may seem confessional, but is also highly attuned to the world outside.
It opens our eyes to what is at absurd and moving about our daily existence. And it is almost impossible to read without laughing. Now, for the first time collected in one volume, the author brings us his funniest and most memorable work.
WINNER OF THE COSTA BIOGRAPHY Category Award 2018
'Superb. This is a necessary book - painful, harrowing, tragic, but also uplifting' Times
Little Lien wasn't taken from her Jewish parents - she was given away in the hope that she might be saved. Hidden and raised by a foster family in Amsterdam during the Nazi occupation, she survived the war only to find that her real parents had not.
Much later, she fell out with her foster family, and Bart van Es - the grandson of Lien's foster parents - knew he needed to find out why. His account of tracing Lien and telling her story is a searing exploration of two lives and two families. It is a story about love and misunderstanding and about the ways that our most painful experiences - so crucial in defining us - can also be redefined.
'Luminous, elegant, haunting - I read it straight through' Philippe Sands, author of East West Street.
£14.99A hilarious memoir about growing up in Northern Ireland in the 90s towards the end of the Troubles and a brilliantly propelling narrative of the extraordinary background story of her mother. Her mother's vivid personality and witty colloquialisms dominate the book and help to give a social history of life in Belfast from the 1950s onwards. Growing up on the Falls Road in 1990s Belfast, Alix O'Neill has seen it all - burnt-out buses blocking the route to school, the police mistaking her father for a leading terrorist and a classmate playing hide and seek with her dad's prosthetic hand (blown off making a device for the IRA).
Not that she or her friends are up to speed with the goings-on of the resistance. They're too preoccupied with the obsessions of every teenage girl - booze, boys and Boyzone - to worry about the violence on their doorstep. Besides, the odd coffee jar bomb is nothing compared to the drama about to explode in Alix's personal life.
Desperate to leave Northern Ireland and the trials of her mother's unorthodox family - a loving yet eccentric band of misfits - behind, she makes grand plans for the next stage. But it's through these relationships and their gradual unravelling that Alix begins to appreciate not only the troubled history of where she comes from, but the strength of its women. Warm, embarrassing and full of love and insight, The Troubles with Us is a hilarious and moving account of the madness and mundanities of life in Northern Ireland during the thirty-year conflict.
It's a story of mothers and daughters, the fallout from things left unsaid and the lengths a girl will go to for fake tan.
£15.99'Simply the best modern biography of Wilde ... A terrific achievement' Evening Standard.
Sturgis's account of the hearing at the Old Bailey is as gripping as it is grim' Guardian. Oscar Wilde's life - like his wit - was alive with paradox. He was both an early exponent and a victim of 'celebrity culture': famous for being famous, he was lauded and ridiculed in equal measure.
His achievements were frequently downplayed, his successes resented. He had a genius for comedy but strove to write tragedies. He was an unabashed snob who nevertheless delighted in exposing the faults of society.
Having delighted in fashionable throngs, Wilde died almost alone: barely a dozen people were at his graveside. Yet despite this ruinous end, Wilde's star continues to shine brightly. His was a life of quite extraordinary drama.
Above all, his flamboyant refusal to conform to the social and sexual orthodoxies of his day make him a hero and an inspiration to all who seek to challenge convention. In the first major biography of Oscar Wilde in thirty years, Matthew Sturgis draws on a wealth of new material and fresh research to place the man firmly in the context of his times. He brings alive the distinctive mood and characters of the fin de siecle in the richest and most compelling portrait of Wilde to date. Now in paperback at £15.99 for Christmas 2019
For those of who waiting eagerly for the new Hilary Mantel this Christmas perhaps? !
'This is the biography we have been awaiting for 400 years' Hilary Mantel'
Thomas Cromwell is one of the most famous - or notorious - figures in English history. Born in obscurity in Putney, he became a fixer for Cardinal Wolsey in the 1520s. After Wolsey's fall, Henry VIII promoted him to a series of ever greater offices, and by the end of the 1530s he was effectively running the country for the King.
That decade was one of the most momentous in English history: it saw a religious break with the Pope, unprecedented use of parliament, the dissolution of all monasteries. Cromwell was central to all this, but establishing his role with precision, at a distance of nearly five centuries and after the destruction of many of his papers at his own fall, has been notoriously difficult. Diarmaid MacCulloch's biography is much the most complete and persuasive life ever written of this elusive figure, a masterclass in historical detective work, making connections not previously seen.
Now out in paperback ( July 2019)
'PHENOMENAL' - Michelle Obama, New York Times Book Review `An amazing story, and truly inspiring. The kind of book everyone will enjoy.
Tara Westover and her family grew up preparing for the End of Days but, according to the government, she didn't exist. She hadn't been registered for a birth certificate. She had no school records because she'd never set foot in a classroom, and no medical records because her father didn't believe in hospitals. As she grew older, her father became more radical and her brother more violent.
At sixteen, Tara knew she had to leave home. In doing so she discovered both the transformative power of education, and the price she had to pay for it.
£9.99Sally Field is one of the most celebrated, beloved and enduring actors of our time, and now she tells her story for the first time in this intimate and haunting literary memoir. In her own words, she writes about a challenging and lonely chilhood, the craft that helped her find her voice, and a powerful emotional legacy that shaped her journey as a daughter and a mother. Sally Field has an infectious charm that has captivated audiences for more than five decades, beginning with her first television role at the age of 17.
£8.99I AM, I AM, I AM is a memoir with a difference - the unputdownable story of an extraordinary woman's life in near-death experiences. Insightful, inspirational, gorgeously written, it is a book to be read at a sitting, a story you finish newly conscious of life's fragility, determined to make every heartbeat count.
A childhood illness she was not expected to survive. A teenage yearning to escape that nearly ended in disaster. A terrifying encounter on a remote path.
A mismanaged labour in an understaffed hospital. Shocking, electric, unforgettable, this is the extraordinary memoir from Costa Novel-Award winner and Sunday Times bestselling author Maggie O'Farrell ( The Hand that First Held Mine, The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox)
Shaun Bythell runs one of the second hand and antiquarian bookshops in Scotland’s ‘ special place ‘ for books, Wigtown. This diary style account of life behind the till is grumpy, cynical - and hilarious.
Sunday Times Bestseller, a memoir about nursing and a call for compassion and kindness. A moving and honest account of the care that hundreds of nurses provide day after day.
Now in paperback £8.99
* THE NO. 1 SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER *`
We watch Christie as she nurses a premature baby who has miraculously made it through the night, we stand by her side during her patient's agonising heart-lung transplant, and we hold our breath as she washes the hair of a child fatally injured in a fire, attempting to remove the toxic smell of smoke before the grieving family arrive. In our most extreme moments, when life is lived most intensely, Christie is with us. She is a guide, mentor and friend.
And in these dark days of division and isolationism, she encourages us all to stretch out a hand.
£9.99Discover the fascinating lives of the figures that have shaped Ireland from the early nineteenth century to the present day. Explore the rich history of the island's cultural, social and political landscape, with more than 100 obituaries carefully curated from The Times archive. The Irish have contributed richly to the world, most notably in literature, but also in the arts, law, politics, religion, scholarship, science, soldiering and sport.
In this volume, The Times brings together a unique and fascinating collection of obituaries. The list includes people who have made the greatest impact in their fields, others who have led particularly interesting or influential lives, and a selection of notable Irish figures in the history of The Times. The obituaries have been compiled and edited by Dubliner Charles Lysaght.
A lawyer, biographer and reviewer, Charles is a long-time writer of obituaries for The Times. In his introduction, he discusses the nature of Times obituaries and how they have reflected the sometimes troubled and controversial relationship of the newspaper with Ireland. This book features the major Irish figures of influence from the last 200 years covering a diverse range of people, from Daniel O'Connell to Ian Paisley, James Joyce to Maureen Potter.
Agent Sonya : From the bestselling author of The Spy and The Traitor
by Ben MacIntyre (Author)
She eventually became a spymaster, saboteur, bomb-maker and secret agent. In Agent Sonya, Britain's most acclaimed historian vividly reveals the fascinating tale of a life that would change the course of history. Classic Ben Macintyre - a gripping ride, based on meticulous research, that reads like a novel - this is the greatest spy story never told.
'Exquisitely written... haunting... Few books, I think, capture so well the sense of a life broken for ever by trauma and guilt' - Sunday Times'
In 1965 the German journalist Horst Kruger attended the Auschwitz trial in Frankfurt, where 22 former camp guards were put on trial for the systematic murder of over 1 million men, women and children.
Twenty years after the end of the war, this was the first time that the German people were confronted with the horrific details of the Holocaust executed by 'ordinary men' still living in their midst. The trial sent Kruger back to his childhood in the 1930s, in an attempt to understand 'how it really was, that incomprehensible time'. He had grown up in a Berlin suburb, among a community of decent, lower-middle-class homeowners.
This was not the world of torch-lit processions and endless ranks of marching SA men. Here, people lived ordinary, non-political lives, believed in God and obeyed the law, but were gradually seduced and intoxicated by the promises of Nazism. He had been, Kruger realised, 'the typical child of innocuous Germans who were never Nazis, and without whom the Nazis would never have been able to do their work'.
This world of respectability, order and duty began to crumble when tragedy struck. Kruger's older sister decided to take her own life, leaving the parents struggling to come to terms with the inexplicable. The author's teenage rebellion, his desire to escape the stifling conformity of family life, made him join an anti-Nazi resistance group.
He narrowly escaped imprisonment only to be sent to war as Hitler embarked on the conquest of Europe. Step by step, a family that had fallen under the spell of Nazism was being destroyed by it. Written in accomplished prose of lingering beauty, The Broken House is a moving coming-of-age story that provides an unforgettable portrait of life under the Nazis.
Yet the book's themes also chime with our own times - how the promise of an 'era of greatness' by a populist leader intoxicates an entire nation, how thin is the veneer of civilisation, and what makes one person a collaborator and another a resister.
by Meriel Schindler (Author)
Kurt had made extravagant claims about their family history. Were they really related to Franz Kafka and Oscar Schindler, of Schindler's List fame? Or Hitler's Jewish doctor - Dr Bloch? What really happened on Kristallnacht, the night that Nazis beat Kurt's father half to death and ransacked the family home? When Kurt died in 2017, Meriel felt compelled to resolve her mixed feelings about him, and to solve the mysteries he had left behind. Starting with photos and papers found in Kurt's isolated cottage, Meriel embarked on a journey of discovery taking her to Austria, Italy and the USA.
She reconnected family members scattered by feuding and war. She pieced together an extraordinary story taking in two centuries, two world wars and a family business: the famous Cafe Schindler. Launched in 1922 as an antidote to the horrors of the First World War, this grand cafe became the whirling social centre of Innsbruck.
And then the Nazis arrived. Through the story of the Cafe Schindler and the threads that spool out from it, this moving book weaves together memoir, family history and an untold story of the Jews of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. It explores the restorative power of writing, and offers readers a profound reflection on memory, truth, trauma and the importance of cake.
'Extraordinary. Vivid, irreverent, heartbreaking.' NIGEL SLATER 'So funny and so delicious. I could eat it.' DAWN O'PORTER
From an early age, Grace Dent was hungry.
As a little girl growing up in Currock, Carlisle, she yearned to be something bigger, to go somewhere better. Hungry traces her story from growing up eating beige food to becoming one of Britain's best-loved food writers. It's also everyone's story - from cheese and pineapple hedgehogs and treats with your nan, to the exquisite joy of a chip butty covered in vinegar and too much salt in the school canteen on a grey day.
And the Cadbury's Fruit & Nut from a hospital vending machine that tells a loved one you really care. Grace's snapshot of how we have lived, laughed and eaten over the past 40 years reveals the central role food plays in either bringing us together or driving us apart - from toasting a large glass of warm Merlot to grimly polishing off a wilted salad. Heartfelt, witty and joyous, Hungry shows us what we've always known to be true.
Food, friends and family are the indispensable ingredients of a life well lived.
£9.99In 1939, five-year-old Jacques Austerlitz is sent to England on a Kindertransport and placed with foster parents. This childless couple promptly erase from the boy all knowledge of his identity and he grows up ignorant of his past. Later in life, after a career as an architectural historian, Austerlitz - having avoided all clues that might point to his origin - finds the past returning to haunt him and he is forced to explore what happened fifty years before.
Austerlitz is W.G. Sebald's melancholic masterpiece. 'Mesmeric, haunting and heartbreakingly tragic.
£9.99An exhilarating story of ambition, joy and failure in early manhood from the international phenomenon, Karl Ove Knausgaard As the youngest student to be admitted to Bergen's prestigious Writing Academy, Karl Ove arrives full of excitement and writerly aspirations. Soon though, he is stripped of his youthful illusions. His writing is revealed to be puerile and cliched, and his social efforts are a dismal failure.
He drowns his shame in drink and rock music. Then, little by little, things begin to change. He falls in love, gives up writing and the beginnings of an adult life take shape.
That is, until his self-destructive binges and the irresistible lure of the writer's struggle pull him back. 'Breathtaking... Knausgaard has a rare talent for making everyday life seem fascinating' The Times
£12.99A deeply moving story of what it means to care for those we love - by bestselling author Kate Mosse, writer of Labyrinth and The City of Tears
'A truly beautiful book, shot through with honesty, heartbreak and joy. I loved it' Adam Kay
As our population ages, more and more of us find ourselves caring for parents and loved ones - some 8.8 million people in the UK. An invisible army of carers holding families together.
Here, Kate Mosse tells her personal story of finding herself as a carer in middle age: first, helping her mother look after her beloved father through Parkinson's, then supporting her mother in widowhood, and finally as 'an extra pair of hands' for her 90-year-old mother-in-law.
This is a story about the gentle heroism of our carers, about small everyday acts of tenderness, and finding joy in times of crisis. It's about juggling priorities, mind-numbing repetition, about guilt and powerlessness, about grief, and the solace of nature when we're exhausted or at a loss. It is also about celebrating older people, about learning to live differently - and think differently about ageing.
But most of all, it's a story about love.
Anya Hindmarch is a mother of five, stepmother, entrepreneur and globally renowned businesswoman. In If In Doubt, Wash Your Hair, she shares what she has learned during her busy and eclectic life, what she still worries about, and what advice she has received along the way. From practical tips and quick fixes, to profound observations about confidence and creativity, this inspiring handbook will show you how to live a little better.
'Comforting, practical and beautifully personal. This book feels like your best friend telling you it's all going to be ok' Fearne Cotton'
Warm, friendly, and packed to the rafters with excellent advice - I loved it' India Knight
£25.00This is a scholarly and yet intensely readable book. It takes female writers who were largely born in the 1950's and asks each one to reflect on her experience of being published, read and taken seriously as a writer in Ireland. The vast majority of these women do so, against a backdrop of raising families, holding down 'proper' jobs and generally swimming against the tide of what is expected from them. I found it inspiring, and humbling. In the words of Mark Twain, many of us might say "I'm writing a novel" to which his sharp reply was "Neither am I". These pioneers demonstrated through sheer will and dedication , to actually follow through. Some are more personal, some more academic, but an essential read for anyone interested in gender studies, writing in Ireland and creative endeavour.
From the brilliantly original and critically acclaimed Sally Bayley, a literary story of working class childhood, absent or broken men and the power of literature to save and rebuild a world.
In Sally Bayley’s childhood, the men were often missing. Missing because they were drunk, or out of work, or in prison, or wandering. Or missing because their behaviour had provoked women to ban them from the house.
The man who was around for Sally was Shakespeare, and he brought men with him to fill the gaps. Sally grew up with a troupe of sad kings and lonely heroes. Her mind ran away from home with Falstaff and Prince Hal, with deceivers and mavericks and geniuses.
In her signature and extraordinary style, this is Sally’s story of her childhood – one lived with darkness snapping at heels, with real and imagined people passing through interchangeably, and with trauma a spiky memory to be skirted and avoided.
Inventive, literary and adventurous, this is a story of poverty, missing fathers, sons and a testament to the way that great literature and its characters can guard an imagination against the bad.
This is the tale of a devastating pandemic, of lives cut painfully short - it's also a love story. Derek, a distinguished designer, and J, a pioneering entrepreneur and creator of Heaven, the iconic gay dance club, met and fell in love more than 40 years ago. In the early 1980s their friends began to get sick and die - AIDS had arrived in their lives.
When they got tested, J received what was then a death sentence: he was HIV Positive. While the onset of AIDS strengthened stigma and fear globally, they confronted their crisis with courage, humour and an indomitable resolve to survive. J's battle lasted six long years.
Turning to spiritual reflection, yoga, nature - and always to love - Derek describes a transformation of the spirit, how compassion and empathy rose phoenix-like from the flames of sickness and death, and how he and J founded the charity Aids Ark, which has helped to save more than 1,000 HIV Positive lives. This is a story of joy and triumph, of facing universal challenges, of the great rewards that come from giving back. Derek speaks for a generation who lived through a global health crisis that many at the time refused even to acknowledge.
Linda says ... if you liked It's A Sin, the powerful BBC drama about coming of age in the 1980's, you will enjoy this. All the more resonant since living through the Covid pandemic.
Boy 11963, An Irish Industrial School Childhood and an Extraordinary Search for Home, by John Cameron (large paperback)
At only five months old, John Cameron was abandoned in a Dublin orphanage, and fostered out as a child labourer by age three. In 1944 when he turned eight, he was incarcerated in Artane Industrial School, where he became boy 11963. Now in his mid-eighties, John Cameron tells his shocking but inspirational story for the first time.
As a child, reduced to a number, he survived savage assaults, sexual abuse and the tragic deaths of children around him. Along with other forgotten boys, he battled for his life against the heartless adversity of the church and the Irish state. As a young man - a much-loved schoolteacher devoted to his growing family - John was haunted by his unknown past and embarked on a lifelong quest to unravel the truth about his origins.
Buried in a labyrinth of lies, he finally uncovered a story of forbidden love and passion that scandalised rural Ireland and made national headlines in the 1930s. Boy 11963 is a unique account of overcoming almost insurmountable obstacles to find out who you truly are.
This is quite simply the best book about motherhood I have ever read.' - Eleanor Mills in the Sunday Times
Mother to five children, Clover Stroud has navigated family life across two decades, both losing and finding herself. In her touching, provocative and profoundly insightful book, she captures a sense of what motherhood really feels like - how intense, sensuous, joyful, boring, profound and dark it can be. My Wild and Sleepless Nights examines what it means to be a mother, and reveals with unflinching honesty the many conflicting emotions that this entails: the joy and the wonder, the loneliness and despair.
For mothers and those even vaguely interested in family dynamics it is fascinating' - Alexandra Heminsley
Charting the course of one year, the first in her youngest child's life, Clover searches for answers to questions that many of us would be too afraid to admit to - not only about motherhood, but also about female sexuality and identity. Her story will speak to all mothers, and anyone about to embark on that journey.
£12.99Seven years after her mother's death, Leonie Charlton is still gripped by memories of their fraught relationship. In May 2017, Leonie trekked through the Outer Hebrides in the company of a friend and their Highland Ponies in search of closure. When Leonie's pony has a serious accident, she begins to realise that finding peace with her mother is less important than letting go.
Leonie Charlton blends travel and nature writing with intimate memoir in this beautifully written account of grief and acceptance.
Now in paperback March 2021
The profoundly moving story of how love, courage and determination brought Greta Thunberg's family back from the brink'Urgent, lucid, courageous ... a must-read message of hope ... It is a glimpse of a saner world' David Mitchell, GuardianThis is the story of a happy family whose life suddenly fell apart, never to be the same again.
Of two devoted parents plunged into a waking nightmare as their eleven-year-old daughter Greta stopped speaking and eating, and her younger sister struggled to cope. They desperately searched for answers, and began to see how their children's suffering reached far beyond medical diagnoses. This crisis was not theirs alone: they were burned-out people on a burned-out planet.
And so they decided to act. Our House is on Fire shows how, amid forces that tried to silence them, one family found ways to strengthen, heal, and gain courage from the love they had for each other - and for the living world. It is a parable of hope and determination in an emergency that affects us all.
The International No. 1 Bestseller 'Cuts to the heart of who we are' Sunday Times'A book that begs discussion' Vanity Fair
Three Women, which was nearly a decade in the making, is a staggering work of non-fiction for our times. It covers three stories, of three very different women, with an analytical, observational style quite unlike any novel you may have read before. Not for the fainthearted!
Hardback currently sold out and paperback due July 2020.
£18.99Stephen Hough is indisputably one of the world's leading pianists, winning global acclaim and numerous awards, both for his concerts and recordings. He is also a writer, composer and painter and was recently described by the Economist as one of '20 Living Polymaths'. As an international performer he spends much of his life at airports, on planes, and in hotel rooms - and this book expands notes he has made, in his words, 'during that dead time on the road'.
He writes about music and the life of a musician, from exploring the broader aspects of what it is to walk out on to a stage or to make a recording, to specialist tips from deep inside the practice room: how to trill, how to pedal, how to practise. He also writes vividly about people he's known, places he's travelled to, books he's read, paintings he's seen; and touches on more controversial subjects, such as assisted suicide and abortion. Even religion is there - the possibility of the existence of God, problems with some biblical texts and the challenge involved in being a gay Catholic.
An illuminating and absorbing introduction into the life and mind of one of our great cultural figures.
£8.99In this first volume of her six books of autobiography, Maya Angelou beautifully evokes her childhood with her grandmother in the American south of the 1930s. She learns the power of the white folks at the other end of town and suffers the terrible trauma of rape by her mother's lover.
'I write about being a Black American woman, however, I am always talking about what it's like to be a human being. This is how we are, what makes us laugh, and this is how we fall and how we somehow, amazingly, stand up again' Maya Angelou
Born Lippy is a gathering of all the things Jo Brand wishes she'd known, all the things she's learnt, and all the things she hopes for the future. A century after women got the vote (albeit married women over the age of 28) it's time to take stock of exactly what it means to be female today. And if there's one thing women are entitled to, it's having a bloody good moan about things big and small - so here goes .
. . HOW TO MANAGE A BULLY * YOUR FAMILY AND HOW TO SURVIVE IT * WHAT NO-ONE TELLS YOU ABOUT THE FEMALE BODY * BEING DIFFERENT * SOCIAL MEDIA IS NOT SOCIABLE * HOW NOT TO FALL IN LOVE * FEMINISM: A RE-BRANDING * ADVENTURES IN YOUR HEAD * HAVING FUN * NOT HAVING FUN: WHAT TO DO WHEN IT ALL GOES WRONG * STAYING SANE * YOU ARE NOT WHAT YOU WEAR * MODERN MANNERS* HOW TO DO WHAT YOU WANT: OR NOT DO WHAT OTHERS WANT * BEING HEALTHY * GETTING ON A BIT * THE FEMALE OF THE SPECIES: MORE DEADLY THAN THE MALE?
Paperback June 2019
Friedrich Nietzsche's work rocked the foundation of Western thinking and continues to permeate our culture, high and low - yet he is one of history's most misunderstood philosophers. Sue Prideaux's myth-shattering book brings readers into the world of a brilliant, eccentric and deeply troubled man, illuminating the events and people that shaped his life and work. I Am Dynamite! is the essential biography for anyone seeking to understand Nietzsche, the philosopher who foresaw - and sought solutions to - our own troubled times.
Some £25 hardback copies still available.
Jenni Murray gives the lie to Thomas Carlyle's infamous declaration that `the history of the world is but the biography of great men.' Women have played just as great a role in the story of humankind, only for their own tales to be marginalised, censored and forgotten. Their names should be shouted from the rooftops. Marie Curie discovered radium and revolutionised medical science.
Empress Cixi transformed China. Frida Kahlo turned an unflinching eye on life and death. In A History of the World in 21 Women, Jenni Murray celebrates the lives, struggles and achievements of some of the most extraordinary people to have ever walked the Earth.
They ruled empires, they led nations. They were pioneers in the arts and geniuses of science. They led while others followed, spoke truth to power and fought for change.. Illuminating and inspiring.
Now available ( Sept 2019) as £ 9.99 paperback