Born OTD in 1923, Irish poet, short story writer, novelist & playwright who wrote in both English & Irish. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest Irish writers of all time, Brendan Behan. This diverse little collection of 21 short prose pieces by Behan, some fictional, some autobiographical, together with a selection from his 1950’s Irish Times column, caused something of a stir when it first appeared in 1981. The title story, After the Wake, was the talking point at the time, since it appeared to be about what was then something of a forbidden subject, homosexual love.

When the present collection appeared the same people dismissed the story as part of the pornographic hack work which, according … More

Born OTD in 1916, English novelist, poet, essayist and biographer, Penelope Fitzgerald. The novel, set mainly in 1959, centres around Florence Green, a middle-aged widow, who decides to open a bookshop in the small coastal town of Hardborough, Suffolk. The location she chooses is the Old House, an abandoned, damp property said to be haunted by a poltergeist. After many sacrifices, Florence manages to start her business, which grows for about a year after which sales slump…

Florence has tried to change the way things have always been done, and as a result, she has to take … More

Born OTD in 1932, American poet, novelist, and short-story writer, Sylvia Plath. The Bell Jar is Sylvia Plath’s only novel. Renowned for its intensity and outstandingly vivid prose, it broke existing boundaries between fiction and reality and helped to make Plath an enduring feminist icon. It was published under a pseudonym a few weeks before the author’s suicide.

It is a fine novel, as bitter and remorseless as her last poems …The world in which the events of … More

Penny Pepper has led an extraordinary life. She is a writer. Poet. Punk. Pioneer. Activist. And she also happens to be disabled. In her absorbing memoir, which spans the mid-80s up until the millennium, Penny paints a picture of life, love, sex, music, success, failure and misadventures in the UK punk scene of the late 20th century. Craving freedom from the poor Chiltern Hill council estate where she grew up, Penny dreams of moving to London, of writing, of finding her way in the North London music scene.

She doesn’t have what others take for granted; she is disabled. And she sets out with just her raw, burgeoning … More