LIVES LIKE LOADED GUNS by Lyndall Gordon shortlisted for the Comisso Prize

LIVES LIKE LOADED GUNS - Italy Fazi Front.jpg

Fazi Editore's Italian edition of LIVES LIKE LOADED GUNS, Lyndall Gordon's widely-praised biography of Emily Dickinson, has been shortlisted for the Comisso Prize. The Comisso Prize is one of Italy's most prestigious prizes, with previous winners including Adrian Desmond and Roberto Pazzi.
The Prize has two sections: Biography and Fiction. For biography, this year's three finalists, chosen by a jury consisting of teachers and journalists, are:

  • Lyndall Gordon - Come un fucile carico. La vita di Emily Dickinson, (Lives Like Loaded Guns), published by Fazi Editore
  • Marco Santagata - Dante. Il romanzo della sua vita, published by Mondadori
  • Patrick Wilcken - Il poeta nel laboratorio. Vita di Claude Lévi-Strauss, published by Il Saggiatore

See more about the prize here.

Lyndall's ground-breaking biography of Emily Dickinson, following the vehement feud between the Dickinson family and Emily's brother's mistress after the enigmatic American poet's death, and exploding the myth of the reclusive genius, was a Telegraph Book of the Year 2010, listed in the Independent's Pick of 2010 and picked as one of four Biography and Memoir Best Books of 2010 by The Economist.

Lyndall Gordon lives in Oxford. An acclaimed biographer, she has been winner of the Cheltenham Prize and the James Tait Black Prize, and long-listed for the Samuel Johnson Prize. In addition to her Emily Dickinson, Virginia Woolf and Charlotte Bronte biographies, she is also author of the recently re-issued HENRY JAMES: Two Women and his Art;  THE IMPERFECT LIFE OF T S ELIOT. VINDICATION: A Life of Mary Wollstonecraft  was long-listed for the Samuel Johnson Prize, 2005.. She wrote a memoir of a fifties childhood in South Africa, SHARED LIVES, and her new memoir, DIVIDED LIVES: Dreams of a Mother and Daughter, will be published by Virago in 2014.

Praise for Lyndall Gordon:

'Gordon is one of the best biographers writing today.' - -  Catherine Hollis, Sacramento Book Review

'A gifted storyteller.' - - Carmela Ciuraru, Miami Herald

'Lyndall Gordon is known for the thoroughness of her research and meticulous attention to detail … a fine researcher's eye … an exceptional and unusual mind.' - -  Janet van Eeden, The Witness


'Explodes all previous theories in an electrifying family portrait…a Shakespearean tale of a house divided. A jolting and utterly intriguing watershed achievement.' - - Starred review, Booklist

In November, a jury of 60 readers will vote for the winner. The prize of €5000 will be awarded in a ceremony in Treviso in North-East Italy on 30 November.

'Lyndall Gordon proposes a theory to account for the enigma of Emily Dickinson's life as a notorious recluse which is so brilliant that, if this were a novel, a reviewer would be duty-bound not to reveal a thrilling twist…Unforcedly and powerfully original.' - - Caroline Moore, 'Book of the Week', Sunday Telegraph

'As rich as a novel by Henry James.' - - Robert Douglas-Fairhurst, The Telegraph

'Few portraits of Emily Dickinson are as vivid, few explorations of a family feud more riveting.' - - Carol Herman, Washington Times


'Gordon takes the lid off the violent emotional life of the Dickinson family and its far-reaching effects on the poet's work. What she exposes is a seething Peyton Place of adultery, betrayal and lifelong feuding.' - - Claire Harman, Literary Review

Lyndall's website: