Saturday, August 22, 2009

Holroyd's Magic Carpet

Sebastian Barry has won a second major prize for The Secret Scripture, carrying off the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for Fiction (Britain's oldest literary award) last night.

The award for biographer, meanwhile, went to Michael Holroyd, who has won it more than four decades after his wife Margaret Drabble won for fiction with Jerusalem the Golden! His book A Strange Eventful History, is about 19th-century Shakespearean actors, Ellen Terry and Henry Irving and their families. It was written over a period of seven years, while Holroyd was suffering from bowel cancer. He says :
Whenever I could escape from the sick room, I used to immerse myself in another world, of actors in the Edwardian age ... I hoped that need to get away from sickness and enter another world would give the writing an additional intensity. It was a magic carpet, and I was the time traveller.
You can read reviews of the book at The Washington Post and The Independent.

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