“The pleasure of writing fiction is that you are always spotting some new approach, an alternative way of telling a story and manipulating characters; the novel is such a wonderfully flexible form.” – Penelope Lively
A British writer of fiction for both children and adults, Lively has two prestigious writing honors – the Booker Prize for her adult book Moon Tiger and the Carnegie Medal for her children’s book The Ghost of Thomas Kempe.
Born on St. Patrick’s Day in 1933 in Cairo, Egypt – where she lived until high school – Lively studied Modern History at St. Anne’s College in England before marrying and raising a family. She started writing in her late 30s and achieved her first successes with a children’s fantasy book, Astercote. Branching out to adult fiction in her early 40s she was an instant success, her first two novels nominated for the Booker Prize and the third winning the award.
Honored by the Queen as a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire for “services to literature,” she has authored some 30 books for children and 20 for adults, plus numerous short stories. She also has written radio and television scripts, presented a radio program, and contributed reviews and articles to various newspapers and journals. And, she said, a key part of her writing routine has been being a good reader.
“All I know for certain is that reading is of the most intense importance to me,” she said. “If I were not able to read, to revisit old favorites and experiment with names new to me, I would be starved – probably too starved to go on writing myself.”
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