Author biography

Nina Bawden, Author of Carrie’s War

Nina Bawden (January 19, 1925 – August 22, 2012) was a British novelist, children’s book writer, and campaigner. Best known for the children’s novel Carrie’s War, she published twenty-three adult novels and twenty children’s books over some fifty years.

In all of her writing, she made “use of all of my life, all memory, wasting nothing,” and claimed that if her books were read in sequence, they formed a “coded autobiography.”

She was also a fierce campaigner for rail safety after being involved in the Potters Bar train crash of 2002. Read More→

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Sigrid Undset, Norwegian Nobel Prize-Winning Novelist

Sigrid Undset (Norwegian, May 20, 1882 – June 10, 1945) was the author of thirteen novels that have been translated into nearly all major languages. She received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1928 for “her powerful descriptions of Northern life during the Middle Ages.”

Her medieval epics Kristin Lavransdatter and Olav Audunsson (also known as The Master of Hestviken) have been recently reprinted and freshly translated by scholar Tiina Nunnally. Read More→

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Olive Schreiner, Author of The Story of an African Farm

Olive Schreiner (March 24, 1855 – December 11, 1920) was a South African author and activist best known for her debut novel The Story of an African Farm, first published in 1883 under the pseudonym Ralph Iron. It later appeared in 1891, credited to the author’s real name.

The Story of an African Farm dealt with themes like feminism, family life, and Victorian culture. Olive drew from personal experience, having worked as a governess on several South African farms. The book became notable (and controversial) for rejecting traditional values and was an immediate bestseller.

She was also a prolific letter-writer, corresponding with many great minds like Emily Hobhouse. Olive remained involved in many political and social causes of the time, including the right to vote for South African women. Read More→

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Elsa Morante, author of Arturo’s Island

Before the advent of the mysterious, best-selling author Elena Ferrante there was the provocative Italian novelist and short story writer Elsa Morante (August 18, 1912 – November 25, 1985).

Morante portrayed life’s pain and perils, but her novels also detail the power of imagination that can transport us from cruel reality. Her four novels span the entire twentieth century and illuminate the lives and inner worlds of men, women, and children.

All of her novels detail the main character’s coming of age and their fear of leaving behind the safety of childhood for the potential dangers of adulthood, and the prospect of death. Morante acknowledged the dark, overarching theme of her novels: Read More→

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Ingrid Jonker, South African Poet and Anti-Apartheid Activist

Ingrid Jonker (September 19, 1933 – July 19, 1965) was a South African poet and founder of the emerging counterculture literary movement. The daughter of a Member of Parliament for the National Party, her views and work strongly opposed the apartheid government of the time.

Jonker has been compared to some of the most iconic modern female artists and poets, including Sylvia Plath. Her poetry, written in Afrikaans, has been more recently translated into English, as well as German, Dutch, French, PolishHindi, and other languages.

Jonker’s poem, “The child who was shot dead by soldiers at Nyanga” was recited by Nelson Mandela on May 24, 1994, signifying the past impact and end of the Apartheid-regime. Read More→

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