Penelope Lively entry: Overview screen.
Writing and Life
Works By
Penelope Lively, who published her first book in 1970, began writing for children before moving on to adult novels, stories, a non-fictional account of landscape as record of history, and to memoirs in which, again, her broad, socially- and politically-inflected contexts for personal reminiscence bring her close to writing the history of cultural change. Through her work in various genres her concerns remain constant: she is deeply interested in both place and time. She sets most of her fiction in intensely-realised rural settings (with one memorable account of London). Her child protagonists often feel the unaccountable survival of the past in the present; her adult ones tend to be re-evaluating their own past, often in the light of death or change.
17 March 1933 Penelope Low (later PL) was born in Cairo. Egypt had been an independent country since 28 February 1922, but continued to be occupied by the British army until 26 August 1936. Bibliographic Citation link.
February 1970 PL issued her first book, a novel for children entitled Astercote, with illustrations by Antony Maitland. Bibliographic Citation link.
May 1987 PL published what perhaps still remains her best-known novel, Moon Tiger, set largely in Cairo in the 1940s, winner of that year's Booker Prize. Bibliographic Citation link.
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