||This biographical article needs additional citations for verification. (October 2013)|
|Penelope M. Lively|
Lively in 2013
17 March 1933 |
|Genres||Novels, children's fiction (notably contemporary fantasy)|
|Notable award(s)||Carnegie Medal
Dame Penelope Margaret Lively, DBE, FRSL (born 17 March 1933) is a prolific, popular and critically acclaimed writer of fiction for both children and adults. She has won both the Booker Prize (Moon Tiger, 1987) and the Carnegie Medal for British children's books (The Ghost of Thomas Kempe, 1973).
Penelope Low was born in 1933 to British parents in Cairo. She spent her early childhood in Egypt before being sent to boarding school in England at the age of twelve. She read Modern History at St Anne's College, Oxford. She married the academic Jack Lively in 1957 and they lived in Swansea and Oxford, among other places. He died in 1998, and she now lives in north London.
She first achieved success with children's fiction. Her first book, Astercote, was published by Heinemann in 1970. It is a low fantasy novel set in a Cotswolds village and the neighbouring woodland site of a medieval village wiped out by Plague. Since then she has published more than twenty books for children, achieving particular recognition with The Ghost of Thomas Kempe and A Stitch in Time. For the former she won the 1973 Carnegie Medal from the Library Association, recognising the year's best children's book by a British subject. For the latter she won the 1976 Whitbread Children's Book Award. The three novels feature local history, roughly 600, 300, and 100 years past, in ways that approach time slip but do not posit travel to the past.
Her first novel for adults, The Road to Lichfield, was published in 1977 and made the shortlist for the Booker Prize. She repeated the feat in 1984 with According to Mark, and won the 1987 prize for Moon Tiger, which tells the story of a woman's tempestuous life as she lies dying in a hospital bed. As with all of Lively's fiction, Moon Tiger is marked by a close attention to the power of memory, the impact of the past upon the present, and the tensions between "official" and personal histories. She explored the same themes more explicitly in her nonfiction works, including A House Unlocked (2001) and Oleander, Jacaranda: A Childhood Perceived (1994), a memoir of her Egyptian childhood. Her latest work, Dancing Fish and Ammonites, A Memoir, was published in 2013.
Beside novels and short stories, Lively has also written radio and television scripts, presented a radio programme, and contributed reviews and articles to various newspapers and journals.
She was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 1989, Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 2001, and Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) in the 2012 New Year Honours for services to literature.
Fiction for children
Fiction for adults
- (Carnegie Winner 1973). Living Archive: Celebrating the Carnegie and Greenaway Winners. CILIP. Retrieved 17 August 2012.
- "Friends of the British Library Annual Report 2006/07". Retrieved 7 September 2009.
- The London Gazette: . 31 December 2011.
- Official website
- Penelope Lively at British Council: Literature
- Penelope Lively at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database
- Audio slideshow interview about Family Album on The Interview Online