Kathleen Jones, a biographer, poet and fellow Cumbrian, explores Margaret’s books against the background of her life - divided between the quiet hills of the Lake District and the busy capital city London; between the demands of a lively family, and her own writing career.
This book sets out to answer the questions readers most often want to ask. How has Margaret managed to sustain her career from the best-selling ‘Georgy Girl’, to the Orange Prize listed ‘Over’ without doing any of the author events or publicity stunts that publishers expect? Where did the idea for ‘Diary of an Ordinary Woman’ come from? How autobiographical are her novels? Does Margaret prefer writing biography or fiction? Is she a feminist? And above all, how has she accomplished the juggling act of family and career through a marriage that has lasted more than fifty years?
Praise for Kathleen Jones
‘Biographer Kathleen Jones skilfully traces Margaret’s non-conforming career: her Carlisle upbringing and its working-class expectations, the competing demands of work and family, and the business of writing fact and fiction – with all the overlaps between the two.’ Susan Tranter, Northern Lights.
‘A compelling narrative of a writer’s passion for her work.’ Helen Dunmore, Katherine Mansfield: The Story-teller.
'Kathleen Jones is a skilled and subtle biographer, who has written grippingly and with great empathy about female hardship and creativity.' Pamela Norris, Literary Review, Catherine Cookson: The Biography
'I . . . quickly became captivated. I think Kathleen Jones has done a great job. . . And she has a good deal of passion herself, tho' strictly controlled. . . her use of quotes from the womens' letters etc was what I admired most. I know to my cost how hard it is to do. . Her choices were always judicious - and best of all, automatically urge the reader back to the source from which they came - the aim, I always think , of all biography. . . what a wonderful story it is.' Margaret Forster: A Passionate Sisterhood
‘I read it with huge enjoyment - I think it(s by far the best biography yet - giving a truthful but still sympathetic portrait.’ Jacqueline Wilson, Katherine Mansfield: The Story-teller
'This is such a bravura exercise in biography, I would suggest Kathleen Jones not only wins her case but should be awarded costs.' Charlotte Cory, Times Literary Supplement, Catherine Cookson: The Biography
‘This is a fascinating, marvellous, utterly absorbing book.' Sue Limb, Independent on Sunday