Rumer Godden

A Storytellers's Life

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Born in India, at the height of British colonial power, she lived there until the 1950s. Her career as a novelist began with Black Narcissus which became a bestseller on publication in 1939 - and like many of her novels - was adapted into a film. Her relationship with India, although passionate, was ultimately and perhaps inevitably ambivalent and this ambivalence came to a head in an incident when she and her children were living in Kashmir. A servant tried to poison them and the notoriety surrounding the case forced Godden to leave Kashmir and eventually India itself. Her move from India to Scotland contains parallel themes and adventures akin to themes within her novels.

About Anne Chisholm

Anne Chisholm is a biographer and critic who has also worked in journalism and publishing. Her first biography, Nancy Cunard (1979), won the Silver PEN prize for non-fiction; in 1992 the biography of Lord Beaverbrook she wrote jointly with her husband, Michael Davie, was runner up for the Hawthornden prize. Her most recent book was a life of the writer Rumer Godden (1998) and she is currently writing the biography of the diarist Frances Partridge. " " " " As a journalist, her first job was on Private Eye; subsequently she was on the staff of Time Magazine in New York and of the Observer. At present, she reviews regularly for the Sunday Telegraph. She has worked as a reader and occasional editor for Jonathan Cape and Bloomsbury, and has been a judge for the Booker Prize, the Duff Cooper Prize for non-fiction and for the V.S. Pritchett short story prize. " " " " In 2003 she was a visiting Fellow in the British Studies programme at the University of Texas; she has run, with Caroline Moorehead, two Arvon Foundation courses in life writing. She is a Fellow and council member of the Royal Society of Literature.

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