Penelope Lively's official website
Welcome to Penelope Lively's official website

Penelope Lively's first collection of short stories for twenty years has recently been published: THE PURPLE SWAMP HEN. Penguin/Fig Tree



A purple swamp hen, preserved for ever in a Roman fresco, gives a true and hair-raising account of life in Pompeii; a young researcher connects with her ancestors from two centuries ago; an old lady tours the supermarket with her carer - who is surprised find out the old lady's former profession; a pair of seemingly genteel ladies lunch together at a restaurant, the other diners oblivious to the hatred that sizzles between then; an ex-wife discovers twenty-five years after the break-up of her marriage why it never worked; ghosts disturb marriages and houses; and married couples discover truths about each other that they never suspected.

“A tour de force . . . Almost twenty years since the publication of her last book of short stories, Lively has rediscovered the form with this superb collection.” —Financial Times
“Immensely enjoyable . . . Lively’s tone is not elegiac but something far sharper, and she does not twinkle: Lively is not that kind of grandmother. She is funny.” —The Guardian
“Thoughtful, intelligent, and light of touch . . . Lively has the gift, rare and wonderful, of being able to peel back the layers one by one and set them before us, translucent and gleaming.” —The Sunday Telegraph
“Spry and world-wise, ‘The Purple Swamp Hen’ is an enchanting story that sets the tone for the rest of this stellar collection.” —The Observer (London)
“Penelope Lively has guts and style. She takes a situation and holds it upside down, rattling its pockets until she has squeezed out of it every last ounce of meaning and turned the whole story, stylistically, on a sixpence. You are in the hands of a master who can use a shopping trip to explore the whole spectrum of human behavior. Yet there is something unnerving about her ability to see through her protagonists; they get away with nothing, and you, as the reader, feel under scrutiny, too. Here Lively is at her most affecting.” —Daily Mail
“These stories continue to explore Lively’s obsessions, not only with the mystery of memory, but with the tensions that develop when characters try to sustain a discipline of work while trying to build an intimate life with another person. . . . Her style is a delight.” —The Irish Times



AMMONITES & LEAPING FISH - A life in Time, Penelope Lively's reflections on old age and memory, a maverick form of memoir, was published by Penguin Fig Tree on 9th October 2013 (see cover detail and reviews . . . . . .)

Penelope Lively's penultimate novel, HOW IT ALL BEGAN, was published by Penguin/Fig Tree in November 2011. (see cover detail and reviews . . . . . .) and was published in the US by Viking in January 2012. (see cover detail and reviews . . . . . .)

The paperback edition of Penelope Lively's previous novel, FAMILY ALBUM, was published by Penguin. She discussed it at the "Ways with Words" Literary Festival at Dartington on July 18th. see cover detail and reviews . . . . . .

"FAMILY ALBUM was published in the US by Viking in October 2009. see cover detail and reviews . . . . . .

Her earlier novel, CONSEQUENCES, was published in June 2007. more . . . . .

MAKING IT UP, was published on 2005. This work of fiction is a form of anti-memoir, in which she imagines some of the alternative outcomes, had she gone down a different road at crucial points in her life. A ship travelling to Cape Town during the second world war, an archeological dig in the nineteen seventies, Cairo in the early fifties - these are some of the roads not taken, through which winds the thread of what really happened.more . . . . .

Penguin Classics published MOON TIGER and OLEANDER, JACARANDA in paperback in 2006
read the reviews of her novel, The Photograph
Biographical notes
Penelope Lively was born in Cairo, Egypt and spent her childhood there. She came to England at the age of twelve, in 1945, and went to boarding school in Sussex. She subsequently read Modern History at St. Anne's College, Oxford. In 1957 she married Jack Lively (who died in 1998). They had two children, Josephine and Adam. Jack Lively's academic career took the family from Swansea to Sussex and Oxford, and eventually to Warwick University, where he was Professor of Politics. Penelope Lively now has six grandchildren and lives in London.

Literary awards
TREASURES OF TIME, Arts Council National Book Award
NOTHING MISSING BUT THE SAMOVAR, Southern Arts Literature Prize
THE ROAD TO LICHFIELD, shortlisted for the Booker Prize
ACCORDING TO MARK, shortlisted for the Booker Prize
THE GHOST OF THOMAS KEMPE, Carnegie Medal
A STITCH IN TIME, Whitbread Award
MOON TIGER, Booker Prize, shortlisted for the Whitbread Award
FAMILY ALBUM, shortlisted for the Costa Prize
Many of Penelope Lively's books are translated into several foreign languages.

Short stories have appeared in Encounter, The Literary Review, Good Housekeeping, Vogue, Cosmopolitan, Options, The Observer, Woman's Own and other magazines including foreign periodicals. A number have also been read on the BBC and on Australian Radio.

Penelope Lively has reviewed regularly and written articles for Encounter, the Sunday and the Daily Telegraph, the Independent, the Times, the Sunday Times, the Observer, the New York Times, Books and Bookmen, The Literary Review, The Times Educational Supplement, the Standard and other journals and newspapers. She has also written radio and TV scripts; and acted as presenter for a Radio 4 programme on children's literature.

Penelope lively is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, and a member of PEN and the Society of Authors, of which she is a former chairman. She is a former member of the Arts Council Literature Panel and of the Board of the British Library. She has been a member of the Board of the British Council and of the Council of Goldsmiths College. Awarded the OBE in 1989, CBE in 2002, and DBE in 2012, Hon. D.Litt., Tufts University, Mass., 1992, Hon. D.Litt. Warwick University 1998

Books by Penelope Lively


Fiction

THE ROAD TO LICHFIELD, 1977
NOTHING MISSING BUT THE SAMOVAR, and other stories, 1978
TREASURES OF TIME, 1979
JUDGEMENT DAY, 1980
NEXT TO NATURE, ART, 1982
PERFECT HAPPINESS, 1983
CORRUPTION, and other stories, 1984
ACCORDING TO MARK, 1984
PACK OF CARDS, STORIES 1978-86, 1986
MOON TIGER, 1987
PASSING ON, 1989
CITY OF THE MIND, 1991
CLEOPATRA'S SISTER, 1993
HEAT WAVE, 1996
SPIDERWEB, 1998
THE PHOTOGRAPH, 2003
MAKING IT UP, 2005
CONSEQUENCES, 2007
FAMILY ALBUM, 2009
HOW IT ALL BEGAN, 2011

Non -fiction

The PRESENCE OF THE PAST: An introduction to landscape history, 1976
OLEANDER, JACARANDA: A CHILDHOOD PERCEIVED, 1994
A HOUSE UNLOCKED, 2001
AMMONITES AND LEAPING FISH, 2013

Children's books

ASTERCOTE, 1970
THE WHISPERING KNIGHTS, 1971
THE WILD HUNT OF HAGWORTHY, 1971
THE DRIFTWAY, 1972
THE GHOST OF THOMAS KEMPE, 1973
THE HOUSE IN NORHAM GARDENS, 1974
GOING BACK, 1975
A STITCH IN TIME, 1976
THE VOYAGE OF QV66, 1978
THE REVENGE OF SAMUEL STOKES, 1981
THE STAINED GLASS WINDOW, 1976
BOY WITHOUT A NAME, 1975
FANNY'S SISTER, 1976
FANNY AND THE MONSTERS, 1978
FANNY AND THE BATTLE OF POTTER'S PIECE, 1980
FANNY AND THE MONSTERS (three Fanny stories), 1983
UNINVITED GHOSTS and other stories, 1984
DRAGON TROUBLE, 1984
DEBBIE AND THE LITTLE DEVIL, 1987
A HOUSE INSIDE OUT, 1987
PRINCESS BY MISTAKE, 1993
JUDY AND THE MARTIAN, 1993
THE CAT, THE CROW AND THE BANYAN TREE, 1 994
GOOD NIGHT, SLEEP TIGHT, 1995
TWO BEARS AND JOE, 1995
STAYING WITH GRANDPA, 1995
A MARTIAN COMES TO STAY, 1995
LOST DOG, 1996
ONE, TWO, THREE . . . JUMP, 1998

Introductions

To Ivy Compton-Burnett: Manservant and Maidservant, Oxford University Press 1987
To Ivy Compton-Burnett: A Father and his Fate, Oxford University Press 1984
To Edith Wharton: The Age of Innocence, Virago 1988
To Lewis Carroll: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Everyman 1993
To Willa Cather: My Antonia, Everyman 1996
To The Mythical Quest, The British Library 1996
To Ahdaf Soueif: The Map of Love, Bloomsbury 2007
To Carol Shields: The Stone Diaries, Penguin Classics (USA) 2008
To Book Trade Lives, British Library 2008
To Priscilla Napier: A Late Beginner, Slightly Foxed Editions 2009
To Rosemary Sutcliffe: The Lantern Bearers, The Folio Society 2011
To William Golding: The Pyramid 2012
To Penelope Lively: The Ghost of Thomas Kempe, The Folio Society 2014

Purchase a Book?

Penelope Lively's books in paperback are shown with synopses on the Penguin website. Click on the link to display the complete list of Penelope Lively's books (both new and used) on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk

Recent reprints in Penguin Modern Classics


 


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