A new collection of stories from A. S. Byatt is always a winner, and this one takes an unexpected turn, bringing shivers as well as delights. Leaves rustle underfoot in a dark wood: two middle-aged women walk into a forest, as they did when they were girls, confronting their fears and memories and the strange thing they saw in their childhood - or thought they saw - so long ago. A distinguished obstetrician and young woman artist find they have sharply contrasting ideas about body parts, birth and death; an innocent member of an evening class harbours unexpected view on 'raw material'. The stories in this marvellous collection are by turns funny, spooky, sparkling and haunting. The Little Black Book of Stories holds its secrets, adding a dark quality to Byatt's famous skill in mixing folk and fairy tale with everyday life.
A.S. Byatt is internationally known as a novelist, short-story writer and critic. Her novels include Possession (winner of the Booker Prize in 1990), and the quartet of The Virgin in the Garden, Still Life, Babel Tower and A Whistling Woman, as well as The Shadow of the Sun, The Game and The Biographer's Tale. Her latest novel, The Children's Book, is shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2009. She is also the author of two novellas, published together as Angels and Insects, and four collections of stories, and has co-edited Memory: An Anthology.
Educated at York and Newnham College, Cambridge, she taught at the Central School of Art and Design, and was Senior Lecturer in English at University College, London, before becoming a full-time writer in 1983. She was appointed CBE in 1990 and DBE in 1999.