Anne Sebba

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Anne Sebba is a British biographer, writer, lecturer and journalist. She is the author of nine non-fiction books for adults, two biographies for children and several introductions to reprinted classics.

Anne Sebba (née Rubinstein) was born in London in 1951. She read history at King's College London (1969–72) and after a brief spell at the BBC World Service in Bush House joined Reuters as a graduate trainee, working in London and Rome, from 1972–8. She wrote her first book while living in New York and now lives in London.

Her discovery of an unpublished series of letters from Wallis Simpson to her second husband Ernest Simpson, shortly before her eventual marriage to the ex-King, Edward VIII, later Duke of Windsor, formed the basis of a Channel 4 film, The Secret Letters,[1] first shown on UK television in August 2011, and also a biography of Simpson; 'That Woman: The Life of Wallis Simpson Duchess of Windsor'. The letters have led to a reappraisal of the Abdication Crisis.

Sebba’s books have been translated into several languages including French, Spanish, Portuguese, Japanese, Russian and Polish.

Since working as a correspondent for Reuters,[2] Sebba has written for The Times, Guardian, Daily Telegraph, Spectator, Times Higher Educational Supplement and The Independent,[3] She has been cited as an authority on biography.[4]

Jennie Churchill: Winston's American Mother was reviewed in The Independent,[5] The Telegraph,[6] and The Scotsman,[7] inter alia. That Woman was reviewed in The New York Times Sunday Book Review as a "devourable feast of highly spiced history…which acquires the propulsive energy of a thriller as it advances through Wallis's life."[8] and in The Washington Times as "a delicious new biography… meticulously researched."[9]

In 2009 Sebba wrote and presented The Daffodil Maiden on BBC Radio 3. It was the story of the pianist Harriet Cohen, who inspired the composer Arnold Bax when she wore a dress adorned with a single daffodil and became his mistress for the next 40 years.[10]

Gillian Reynolds described it as "This frank and moving account … beautifully produced." in The Daily Telegraph. In 2010 she wrote and presented the documentary "Who was Joyce Hatto?" for BBC Radio 4.

In September 2009 Sebba joined the Management Committee of the Society of Authors, Sebba was Chair of the Management Committee between 2012-2014 and is now a member of the Council of the Society of Authors[11] She is a longstanding member of English PEN and after several years on the Writers in Prison Committee served twice on the PEN Management Committee. She went to Turkey twice as an official observer for PEN for the trial of journalist Asiye Guzel Zeybeck[12] She has served on the judging panel of the Jewish Quarterly-Wingate Literary Prize.[13] and has twice been a judge for the Biographers' Club awards. In 2012, Sebba spoke at the Beijing and Shanghai Literary Festivals and the Sydney Writers' Festival.[14]

In 2016 Sebba published Les Parisiennes: How the Women of Paris Lived, Loved and Died in the 1940’s (Weidenfeld & Nicolson UK ) Les Parisiennes How the Women of Paris Lived, Loved and Died under the Nazi Occupation (St Martin’s Press US) described as ‘fascinating and beautifully written’ by the Spectator


Anne Sebba is the author of nine non-fiction books for adults, two biographies for children and several introductions to reprinted classics.


  1. ^ "Wallis Simpson – The Secret Letters". 
  2. ^ Sebba, Anne (11 September 1998). "A Life Best Remembered". Times Higher Education. Retrieved 26 September 2009. 
  3. ^ Sebba, Anne (1 June 1996). "The story they didn't want to tell". London: The Independent. Retrieved 26 September 2009. 
  4. ^ Sherriff, Lucy (12 December 2006). "Memory conference considers the future of our pasts". The Register. Retrieved 26 September 2009. 
  5. ^ "The Monday Book". The Independent. 1 October 2007. Retrieved 26 September 2009. 
  6. ^ Eade, Philip (3 January 2008). "Winston Churchill's American mother". London: Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 26 September 2009. 
  7. ^ Shoard, Catharine (25 October 2008). "Paperbacks". Retrieved 26 September 2009. 
  8. ^ McElwaine, Sandra (10 March 2012). "Marrying Up". The New York Times. Retrieved 6 June 2013. 
  9. ^ Schillinger, Liesl (9 March 2012). "THAT WOMAN: THE LIFE OF WALLIS SIMPSON, DUCHESS OF WINDSOR". Retrieved 6 June 2013. 
  10. ^ "The Daffodil Maiden". BBC. Retrieved 26 September 2009. 
  11. ^ Page, Benedicte (14 September 2009). "Holland to chair Society of Authors". The Bookseller. Archived from the original on 9 October 2009. Retrieved 26 September 2009. 
  12. ^ [Times articles | Beyond Bars: 50 Years of the Pen Writers in Prison Committee By Jo Glanville]
  13. ^ Bunder, Leslie (5 December 2006). "British Muslim Yasmin Alibhai-Brown Chairs Jewish Book Awards". Jewtastic. Retrieved 26 September 2009. 
  14. ^ 2012 Sydney Writers' Festival speakers
  15. ^ Sebba, Anne (1982). Mother Teresa. MacRae Books. ISBN 0-531-04430-0. 
  16. ^ Sebba, Anne (1983). Margot Fonteyn. MacRae. ISBN 0-531-04603-6. 
  17. ^ Hamilton, Robert (30 November 1980). "Books". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 26 September 2009. 
  18. ^ "The Laura Ashley Story". BBC. 22 September 1999. Retrieved 6 September 2009. 
  19. ^ Weissman, Vicki (6 December 2009). "The Infuriating Bohemian". New York Times. Retrieved 26 September 2009. 
  20. ^ Joffee, Linda (14 February 1994). "Book Review". London: The Independent. Retrieved 26 September 2009. 
  21. ^ Stanford, Peter (15 August 2004). "The Exiled Collector by Anne Sebba". London: The Independent. Retrieved 26 September 2009. 
  22. ^ Sebba, Anne (2011). That Woman The life of Wallis Simpson Duchess of Windsor. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson. ISBN 9780297858973. 

External links[edit]