Sally Beauman biography, plus links to book reviews and book excerpts from books by Sally Beauman.

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Sally Beauman

Sally Beauman

Sally Beauman Biography

Sally Beauman was born in England, in Devon, educated at a girls' school in the West Country, and then read English Literature at Girton College, Cambridge where she graduated in 1966. She has an MA in English Literature.

Immediately after graduating, she went to live in America for three years, first in Washington DC, and then New York. During her time there she travelled extensively, visiting most of the states in the union: her experiences in the South in the year prior to the assassination of Martin Luther King, provided some of the background for her first novel, Destiny.

She began work as a journalist on the then newly launched New York magazine, and continued to write for it and other American publications after her return to England. She has written as a critic and reporter for numerous newspapers and magazines on both sides of the Atlantic, including the Sunday Times, the Daily telegraph, the Observer, the New York Times, and the New Yorker: it was an article about Daphne du Maurier, commissioned by Tina Brown and published in the New Yorker that eventually led to her writing her widely praised and best-selling Rebecca's Tale, a novel that revisited and reimagined du Maurier's Manderley.

She received the Katherine Pakenham prize for her journalism, and became the youngest-ever editor of Queen magazine (now Harper's and Queen). But after the birth of her son, she found the demands of journalism and motherhood hard to combine, so she turned to full time writing. Her first book was non-fiction, the definitive study of the UK's greatest theatre company: The Royal Shakespeare Company: A History of Ten Decades (Oxford University Press,1982) -- her husband Alan Howard whom she met when interviewing him prior to his Hamlet at Straford upon Avon, was playing many leading Shakespearean roles with the RSC at this time.

She then turned to fiction. Her first book, the controversial Destiny (1986) earned her a record sum for a first novel: published in the US by Bantam, it became a New York Times number 1 bestseller, and went on to top the bestseller lists in the UK, Canada, Australia and South Africa. It has never been out of print since, and - widely misunderstood when first published - is now seen as a feminist, genre-subversive novel, a study of a materialist woman in a materialist man's world.

Destiny was followed by six other novels, Dark Angel, the study of a Victorian family's decline; the three linked modern thrillers, Lovers & Liars, Danger Zones and Sextet; Rebecca's Tale, her re-examination of du Maurier's Rebecca, which won her the du Maurier prize, and her latest book, the critically-acclaimed The Sisters Mortland: all have been best sellers, and all have been translated into more than 25 languages world-wide.

Bibliography

Novels

  • Destiny (1987)
  • Dark Angel (1990)
  • Lovers and Liars (1994)
  • Secret Lives (1994)
  • Danger Zones (1996)
  • Sextet (1997)
  • Deception and Desire (1998)
  • Rebecca's Tale (2001)
  • The Landscape of Love (2005)
    aka The Sisters Mortland (USA 2006)
     

Non fiction
King Henry V (1976)
Royal Shakespeare Company: A History of Ten Decades (1982)

This biography was last updated on 07/06/2011.

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Interview

Searching for The Sisters by Sally Beauman

It's always so hard to say where novels begin - it's a ghostly process, I find. When I started writing The Sisters Mortland, I knew that it would be about stories, the truths and lies they contain. I knew it had to be set in the depths of the English countryside, and I knew the county I wanted to use was Suffolk, still deeply rural in many parts, with a strong farming tradition -- I wanted a place that has grown prosperous, but been ravaged by farming practices in the post-war years. It isn't an area of England I know that well -- I've visited it often, but never lived there. That was a plus: I don't like to write about people or places I already know -- I like them to be foreign, so as I actually write they have to be found.

I also knew it would be a novel that centred on three sisters -- two of them young women and one a child when the book opens -- and one summer in the life of the sisters, a summer when the portrait that gives the novel its title is being painted by a Cambridge friend. I knew something terrible, an appalling event, would happen in that idyllic summer of 1967 and I knew I wanted to investigate the ways in which such ...

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Books by this Author

Books by Sally Beauman at BookBrowse

Recommended in Detail at BookBrowse

The Sisters Mortland
The Sisters Mortland

by Sally Beauman

A dramatic, atmospheric novel in a grand storytelling tradition, The Sisters Mortland is beguiling, complex, hauntingly sad, and often dazzlingly funny. A tour de force of tales within tales, it sets the capstone on bestselling author Sally Beauman's literary career.
Read More

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Readalikes

All the books below are recommended as readalikes for Sally Beauman but some maybe more relevant to you than others depending on which books by the author you have read and enjoyed. So look for the suggested read-alikes by title linked on the right.
How we choose readalikes

  • Joanne Harris

    Joanne Harris

    Joanne Harris was born in Barnsley, Yorkshire on July 3, 1964, her mother is French, her father English.  She was educated at Wakefield Girls' High and Barnsley Sixth Form College, and then read Modern and Mediaeval ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    The Sisters Mortland

    Try:
    Five Quarters of The Orange
    by Joanne Harris

  • Kazuo Ishiguro

    Kazuo Ishiguro

    BKazuo Ishiguro was born in Nagasaki, Japan, on November, 8 1954. He came to Britain in 1960 when his father began research at the National Institute of Oceanography, and was educated at a grammar school for boys in Surrey.

    ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    The Sisters Mortland

    Try:
    Never Let Me Go
    by Kazuo Ishiguro

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