Born OTD in 1933, Eunice Kathleen Waymon, AKA Nina Simone. Simone was an American singer, songwriter, musician, arranger, and civil rights activist. Her music spanned a broad range of musical styles including classical, jazz, blues, folk, R&B and gospel. ‘From her raging, handwritten letters to late-night phone calls with David Bowie, this biography gets up close and personal with the tempestuous Nina Simone’

Drawing on glimpses into previously unseen diaries, rare interviews and childhood journals, and with the aid of her daughter, What … More

Edna O’Brien depicts James Joyce as a man hammered by Church, State and family, yet from such adversities he wrote works ‘to bestir the hearts of men and angels’. The journey begins with Joyce the arrogant youth, his lofty courtship of Nora Barnacle, their hectic sexuality, children, wanderings, debt and profligacy, and Joyce’s obsession with the city of Dublin, which he would re-render through his words.

Nor does Edna O’Brien spare us the anger and isolation of Joyce’s later years, when he felt that the world … More

More than eight decades after his death, the works of Franz Kafka continue to intrigue and haunt us. Even for those with only a fleeting acquaintance with his unfinished novels, or his stories, diaries and letters, ‘Kafkaesque’ has become a byword for the menacing, unfathomable absurdity of modern existence. Yet for all the universal significance of his fiction, Kafka’s writing remains inextricably bound up with his life and work in the Czech capital Prague, where he spent every one of his 40 years.

Klaus Wagenbach’s biography provides a meticulously researched insight into the author’s family background, his education and employment, his attitude to … More

Born OTD in 1883, English lawyer, soldier and politician, Clement Attlee. His government’s Keynesian approach to economic management aimed to maintain full employment, a mixed economy and a greatly enlarged system of social services provided by the state. To this end, it undertook the nationalisation of public utilities and major industries, and implemented wide-ranging social reforms, including the passing of the National Insurance Act 1946 and National Assistance Act, the foundation of the National Health Service (1948) and the enlargement of public subsidies for council house building. His government also reformed trade union legislation, working practices and children’s services; it created the National Parks system, passed the New Towns Act 1946 and established the town and country planning system.

Clement Attlee was the Labour prime minister who presided over Britain’s radical postwar government, delivering the end of the Empire … More

Who was the real George Eliot? In Love with George Eliot is a glorious debut novel which tells the compelling story of England’s greatest woman novelist as you’ve never read it before. Marian Evans is a scandalous figure, living in sin with a married man, George Henry Lewes. She has shocked polite society, and women rarely deign to visit her. In secret, though, she has begun writing fiction under the pseudonym George Eliot. As Adam Bede’s fame grows, curiosity rises as to the identity of its mysterious writer. Gradually it becomes apparent that the moral genius Eliot is none other than the disgraced woman living with Lewes.

Now Evans’ tremendous celebrity begins. The world falls in love with her. She is the wise and great writer, sent … More

Born OTD in 1941, American singer, songwriter, record producer and arranger, Otis Redding. He is considered one of the greatest singers in the history of American popular music and a seminal artist in soul music and rhythm and blues. Redding was the chief architect of the distinctly southern, gospel-inflected style of rhythm & blues associated with Stax Records in Memphis. Yet, while Redding’s music has long served as the gold standard of 1960s soul, an aura of myth and mystery has always surrounded the story of his life, which was tragically cut short at the height of his career by his death in a plane crash in December 1967.

Otis Redding is the biography that finally does justice to the unfinished life of the man who was once celebrated … More

Born OTD in 1887, Jamaican-born political activist, publisher, journalist, entrepreneur, and orator, Marcus Garvey. Marcus Garvey was one of the greatest black leaders of the 20th century. His is a story of a man who launched an idea on the tide and created a flood in the worldwide development of black political consciousness. As the leader of America’s first mass political movement of black people, Gerbey’s achievements were both enormous in their scale and long-lasting in their effects. This is an in-depth biography and history of this great man who envisaged so much and inspired so many.

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Friedrich Nietzsche’s work rocked the foundation of Western thinking and continues to permeate our culture, high and low – yet he is one of history’s most misunderstood philosophers. Sue Prideaux’s myth-shattering book brings readers into the world of a brilliant, eccentric and deeply troubled man, illuminating the events and people that shaped his life and work. I Am Dynamite! is the essential biography for anyone seeking to understand Nietzsche, the philosopher who foresaw – and sought solutions to – our own troubled times.

New release available in store and online.

It is 1965, and Swinging London is coming into its prime years. The streets are alive with mods and rockers, playboys and good-time girls, all revelling in the blossoming artistic, creative and cultural energies of the decade. Amid the colour and chaos is a boy sporting drainpipe jeans, an immaculately tailored sports coat and a half-inch wide tie. A devoted fan of The Who, he looks the part in his pristine mod gear. As the lead singer of the Lower Third, his talent is shaping itself into something truly special. His name is Davie Jones.

In ten years, he will be unrecognisable as fresh-faced boy of 1965, and in just over fifty years, his death … More

Born OTD in 1907, Frida Kahlo, a Mexican artist who painted many portraits, self-portraits, and works inspired by the nature & artifacts of Mexico. Inspired by the country’s popular culture, she employed a naïve folk art style to explore questions of identity, postcolonialism, gender, class, & race in Mexican society. A reissue of the beautifully illustrated and authoritative biography of Frida Kahlo. Born near Mexico City, she grew up during the turbulent days of the Mexican Revolution and, at 18, was the victim of an accident that left her crippled and unable to bear children. To salvage what she could from her unhappy situation, Kahlo had to learn to keep still – so she began to paint.

Kahlo’s unique talent was to make her one of the century’s most enduring artists. But her remarkable paintings were only … More