LYNDALL GORDON’S GROUP BIOGRAPHY, OUTSIDERS, NOW OUT IN PAPERBACK

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OUTSIDERS, Lyndall Gordon’s visionary interlinked biography of five female writers and the experiences that shaped them, is available in paperback from Virago. Described as a ‘thought-provoking group biography’ in The New Statesmen by Erica Wagner and as a book written with ‘passionate intelligence’ by Tessa Hadley in The Guardian, OUTSIDERS was included in New Statesman, Books Live and The Irish Times Books of the Year lists in 2017.

OUTSIDERS tells the stories of five novelists – Mary Shelley, Emily Brontë, George Eliot, Olive Schreiner, Virginia Woolf – and their famous novels. We have long known their individual greatness but in linking their creativity to their lives as outsiders, this group biography throws new light on the genius they share. At that time a woman's reputation was her security and each of these five lost it. But as writers, they made the identities of ‘outsider’, ‘outlaw’, ‘outcast’, their own, taking advantage of their separation from the dominant order to write their brilliant books. What they have in common also is the way they inform one another, and us, across the generations.  Lyndall Gordon names each of these five as prodigy, visionary, outlaw, orator and explorer and shows how they came, they saw and left us changed.

Lyndall has attended a number of festivals and literary events to discuss these inspirational women, including the Bath Festival and Cambridge Literary Festival. Lyndall will be giving the Annual Burnt Norton Lecture at The T. S. Eliot International Summer School in July, discussing the prestigious writer and the women in his life. Rights to OUTSIDERS have recently been acquired by Larrad in Spain and Shanghai Literature & Art Publishing House in China.

Lyndall Gordon's biographies have always shown the indelible connection between life and art: an intuitive, exciting and revealing approach that has been highly praised and much read and enjoyed Like all Lyndall’s books OUTSIDERS will continue to delight and inspire readers for a long time to come.

Praise for OUTSIDERS:

‘Fascinating… The strength of spirit of these outsiders shines from the pages and through the ages as Gordon takes us deep inside their minds, hearts, and books.’ — Anita Sethi, The Observer

‘As the role of women undergoes yet another convulsion, it’s good to read, in Lyndall Gordon’s OUTSIDERS, of the robust intelligence of five women who made a powerful contribution. The work and lives of Emily Brontë, George Eliot, Mary Shelley, Olive Schreiner and Virginia Woolf are well known. Gordon’s thesis sets out just how original and brave they were – and at what cost. We owe them much.’ — Joan Bakewell, New Statesman, Books of the Year 2017

‘I love how Lyndall Gordon thinks and I love the clarity and reach of her writing, combining imaginative audacity with scholarly scruple. Her OUTSIDERS, a collection of portraits of George Eliot, Emily Brontë, Virginia Woolf, Olive Schreiner and Mary Shelley, builds into a lucid meditation on how certain writers become lighthouses for each other.’ — Joseph O’Connor, Irish Times Books of the Year 2017

‘Visionary, beautiful’ — Karina Szczurek, Books Live, The best books of 2017 

‘A lively and enterprising group biography’ — Catherine Taylor, Financial Times

Lyndall Gordon’s OUTSIDERS out from Virago today

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Lyndall Gordon’s brilliant new interlinking biography OUTSIDERS: FIVE WOMEN WRITERS WHO CHANGED THE WORLD is published in the UK by Virago in hardback and as an audiobook today, with the trade paperback out in South Africa and Australia soon too.

OUTSIDERS explores the moments of darkness that fuelled the creative genius of five literary women: Mary Shelley, Emily Brontë, George Eliot, Olive Schreiner and Virginia Woolf, all of whom stepped outside the bounds of propriety, challenging social norms and enduring scorn and rejection as a result. OUTSIDERS has already received positive reviews with Claire Lowdon commenting in The Times, that ‘the overlap and interplay between the generations is richly evoked’ and Tessa Hadley praising Lyndall in The Guardian as a ‘natural storyteller… with passionate intelligence.’

At Manchester Literature Festival on 16 October, Lyndall was in conversation with Libby Tempest at The Portico Library about her latest biography. Attending the event, Emma Yates Bradley of Northern Soul said ‘There was something restorative about listening to Gordon talk about these wonderful, smart, capable, literary women – these outsiders.’

Lyndall will be attending several literary festivals over the coming months to discuss the inter-connected biography and the women who shaped it. These include the Oxford Literature Festival on 24 March and Bath Festival on 12 and 13 May 2018. She will also be in South Africa in November this year.

Early next year, 3 February 2018, Lyndall will be focusing on one of these literary greats in her talk VIRGINIA WOOLF: ‘MADNESS’, WAR AND TRAUMA at Bethlem Museum of the Mind. To mark International Women’s Day on 8 March, Lyndall will also be reading from OUTSIDERS at the National Theatre. OUTSIDERS release coincides with a number of important centenaries for its subjects. Virago Podcast will be recording an episode with Lyndall, centring on Mary Shelley and the creation of FRANKENSTEIN.

Lyndall has written several acclaimed biographies, documenting the lives of notable female literary figures like Charlotte Brontë, Mary Wollstonecraft and Emily Dickinson, and related fascinating accounts from her own life in the memoirs DIVIDED LIVES and SHARED LIVES, all published by Virago. She has been longlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize and shortlisted for the Duff Cooper Prize and the Comisso Prize in Italy for her Emily Dickinson biography, LIVES LIKE LOADED GUNS, which has recently been republished by Fazi in a new edition. Spanish publisher Gatopardo recently acquired rights for her biography of Virginia Woolf, A WRITER’S LIFE. Her work has been sold in translation in Italy, Germany, Turkey, China and Spain.

Visit Lyndall’s website.

Praise for Lyndall Gordon:

‘A biographer with soul, she reaches into the hearts of those she brings alive for us. She makes the meaning of their lives sing and sweat as she invites us into their experiences, their longings, their struggles and their disappointments.’ – Susie Orbach, The Observer

‘Gordon is one of the best biographers writing today.’ – Catherine Hollis, Sacramento Book Review

‘A gifted storyteller.’ – Carmela Ciuraru, Miami Herald