Shirley Conran

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Shirley Conran (born 21 September 1932) is a British novelist and journalist.

Life and writings[edit]

Conran is a best-selling author, whose books include Lace and Superwoman.[1] She has been a columnist for Vanity Fair, women's editor of The Daily Mail and a feature writer for The Observer.

Lace spent 13 weeks on the New York Times Best Seller list,[2] reaching as high as No. 6,[3] and was adapted into a 1980s US miniseries.

Conran was educated at the University of Portsmouth. She was successfully treated for skin cancer[when?] and has suffered from ME.[4] She is the ex-wife of British designer, restaurateur, retailer and writer Sir Terence Conran and mother to Sebastian Conran and Jasper Conran, both of whom are designers. Her two later husbands included Kevin O'Sullivan, now the husband of Victoria Glendinning.[5] Conran has homes in France and London, and lived in Monaco for several years.[6]

She is known for coining the phrases "Life is too short to stuff a mushroom"[7] and "First things first, second things never".[citation needed]

Founder of Maths Action

An independent, not for profit organisation with no political affiliations, Maths Action aims to improve maths performance in Britain.[8]



  • Lace (Simon & Schuster, 1982)
  • Lace 2 (1985)
  • The Complete Story (omnibus, 1986)
  • Savages (1987, movie rights owned by Warner Brothers but never made)
  • Crimson (1992)
  • Tiger Eyes (1994)
  • The Revenge (aka Revenge of Mimi Quinn, 1998)
  • The Amazing Umbrella Shop (1990)


  • Superwoman (1975)
  • Superwoman 2 (1977)
  • Futurewoman: How to Survive Life After Thirty (1979)
  • Superwoman in Action (1979)
  • The Magic Garden (1983)
  • Down with Superwoman: For Everyone Who Hates Housework (1990)
  • Money Stuff (2014)[9]


  • The Magic Garden was adapted as a computer program and published by Acornsoft for the BBC Micro as Shirley Conran's Magic Garden.


  1. ^ "Shirley Conran". 
  2. ^ "The New York Times Best Seller list: Fiction" (PDF). 21 November 1982. Retrieved 12 March 2015. 
  3. ^ "The New York Times Best Seller list: Fiction" (PDF). 26 September 1982. Retrieved 12 March 2015. 
  4. ^ Conran's introduction to the second edition of WHY ME? My Journey from M.E. to Health and Happiness. Retrieved 10 July 2010
  5. ^ Susan Johnson, The Sydney Morning Herald, 18 August 2007. "The lady vanishes". Retrieved 22 May 2014
  6. ^ Sarah Boseley, 31 May 1995, "Conran topless for a cause.", The Guardian, pg. 4
  7. ^ Life is too short to stuff a mushroom; quotationbook
  8. ^ "About Maths Action". Retrieved 28 October 2015. 
  9. ^ "MONEY STUFF ebook by Shirley Conran". Shirley Conran. Retrieved 28 October 2015.