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Margaret Forster: A Life In Books

Margaret Forster: A Life In Books [Kindle Edition]

Kathleen Jones
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Product Description

Margaret Forster is one of the UK’s most prolific and respected authors. Born in Cumbria to working class parents in 1938, she published her first novel at the age of twenty two. Since then she has written 24 novels (and has another on the way), as well as 9 non-fiction titles - a mixture of award-winning biography and memoir.

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

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2416 KB
  • Print Length: 94 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: The Book Mill (16 Aug 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B008Z60U4C
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #30,371 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

KATHLEEN JONES was born and brought up on a hill farm in Cumbria and now lives with her partner, sculptor Neil Ferber, in a small house in an olive grove in northern Italy while working on another book. She has been writing since she was a child and has published twelve books including seven biographies, a novel and a collection of poetry. She lived for ten years in Africa and the Middle East, where she worked for the Qatar Broadcasting Corporation. Since then she has written extensively for BBC radio and contributed to several television documentaries.

Kathleen was appointed as a Royal Literary Fund Fellow in 2007. Her latest biography, 'Katherine Mansfield: The Storyteller' was published by Penguin NZ and Edinburgh University Press in 2010. A new 'Readers' Guide' to the life and work of Margaret Forster, called 'Margaret Forster: A Life in Books' is available as an e-book, and a novel 'The Sun's Companion' was published by The Book Mill in 2012. Her latest collection of poetry 'Not Saying Goodbye at Gate 21', published by Templar Poetry, won the 2011 Straid Award.

She is best known for her award-winning biographies, but has also published poetry, feature articles and short fiction in a variety of national and international magazines and newspapers. Her short stories have been broadcast on BBC Radio and on radio networks in Holland, Germany and Spain. She was one of the featured authors in the recent 'Save our Short Story Anthology' compiled by the Arts Council on the internet. As a journalist Kathleen has written articles and reviews for the Independent, the Guardian, the Daily Express, and the TLS, as well as magazines such as SHE and Cosmo.

Kathleen Jones is an enthusiastic blogger, writing an on-line journal 'A Writer's Life' and a book review blog. She is part of the 'Tuesday Poem' group, based in New Zealand. Kathleen regularly leads creative writing workshops for fiction, poetry and life writing. In September each year she also tutors a residential writing course at Peralta in Italy with American novelist Mary-Rose Hayes.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ideal companion 9 Nov 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
Kathleen Jones gets to the heart of Margaret Forster's contradictions in this book. She sets the scene in the early chapters through an account of the prolific and much loved author's formative years, then reflects on Forster's intellectual life and personal concerns at the time when she was writing each of her many books.

A private person who avoided the literary circuit and could be judged on the cold side in relationships, Forster has been able to draw a large, loyal and affectionate readership through her novels. Her contradictions, and her experience of class and gender as a child growing up in post-war Britain, inform all of them. Their subjects generally revolve around the challenges facing women, from the 1960s to the present. Her titles include the famous Georgy Girl, which, when made into a film starring Lynn Redgrave, assured her success. She had a prodigious output and wrote a novel, Jones tells us, in as little as six or nine weeks.

Forster is also a memoirist and biographer, and Jones says of her that, `Her instinctive handling of a narrative and her fascination with other people's lives come together to produce a reliably good read.' Jones also says,`Her biographies are as readable as ... novels, with a strong narrative line ... and her scholarship is unimpeachable.' (Ch.6) This could equally well be applied to Kathleen Jones's writing of this book.

This biography does two things - it looks back at the makings of a writer, and serves as an ideal companion to Margaret Forster's novels, memoirs and biographies.

Those who love her work will find `Margaret Forster: a life in books' absorbingly readable and fascinating for the insights it gives into what formed the author's character and the social and psychological issues Forster was grappling with each time she lifted that pen to write.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A compilation of Margaret Forster's books 14 Oct 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This short book is divided into eighteen chapters each covering two or three of Margaret Forster's books intertwined with details about her life. This has clearly presented the author Kathleen Jones with a problem as Margaret Forster has kept her life private. She has never fallen in with the publisher's need to carry out a lot of publicity so the material available is restricted to the few articles available along with the facts gleaned from her autobiographical books, Hidden Lives, Precious Lives and Good Wives.

That said this book covers each of Margaret Forster's books, detailing the underlying message of the stories told. As some of these books are out of print now, this was a good place for me to work out which one's I have missed out on. I am a huge Forster fan; Shadow Baby is my favourite book of all time, one of the few that I re-read and although I have read many of her other books, I now realise there are more out there. Hunter Davies, Margaret's husband has a special place in my heart as Flossie Teacake's Fur Coat was one of the audio cassettes that entertained us on many a long journey. Reading this book I also realised that Margaret's daughter Caitlin Davies is the writer of The Ghost of Lilly Painter, a great story about a house that once housed one of the notorious baby farmers.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars None 15 May 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
If you have read Margaret Forsters books then this one is a waste of money as it does not tell you anything you do not already know.
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2.0 out of 5 stars A bit disappointed in A Life in Books. 17 May 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
A Bit disappointed as the book very slim and apart from writing books Margaret Forster not had such an exciting life. I was keen to read it as I have read many of her books and have enjoyed them very much.
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Format:Kindle Edition
An excellent book for anyone who enjoys Margaret Forster's work. I thoroughly enjoyed it and even learnt about books which I had missed in the past.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Gritty Magaret Forster's Life: An Eye Opener 1 Jun 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Margaret Forster: A Life In Books

I like biographical material because I have endless curiosity about the lives of other people. Kathleen Jone's weaves Margaret Forster's life and books into a beauiful tapestry. I had not realised that this was the author of "Georgie Girl" when I started reading this book and since I certainly remember that film it has been fascinating to see some of the background to its creation. Well done Kathleen Jones for bringing Margaret Forster into my life.
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