Saturday, August 29, 2009

Persephone Books, London

NICOLA BEAUMAN is the founder of the publishing house, Persephone Books, in Bloomsbury, London. London-born Beauman reprints neglected or near-lost novels, short stories, memoirs and diaries, mostly by women (and a couple of men) writers dating from the early to mid-20th century, in exquisitely bound volumes (with artistic covers), wonderful as gifts and for those who enjoy collecting books. She founded Persephone Books in 1999. (This year marks the 10th anniversary of Persephone Books.)

Beauman is also the author of three biographies: The Other Elizabeth Taylor (2009), Morgan: A Life of E.M. Forster (1993) and Cynthia Asquith (1987), as well as a collection of informal literary criticism, A Very Great Profession: The Woman’s Novel 1914-39 (1983).

Her latest biography, The Other Elizabeth Taylor, is the first biography of one of the greatest English writers of the last century. Taylor’s first novel, At Mrs Lippincote’s, was published in the same year actress Elizabeth Taylor appeared in National Velvet (1945). Over the next 30 years, “the other Elizabeth Taylor” lived and worked in Buckinghamshire and published several novels and short-story collections: Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont (which was shortlisted for the 1971 Booker Prize for Fiction), A View of the Harbour, Angel, amongst others. Beauman’s biography draws on a wealth of hitherto undiscovered material.

Persephone Books is at 59 Lamb’s Conduit Street, London WC1N 3NB


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