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EDITOR’S CHOICE Even if Vera Caspary hadn’t written Laura, one of my favourite books and films, she would be an editor’s choice. Caspary’s novels have independent and spirited female protagonists who look for love but also are inevitably embroiled in mystery/suspense/murder. Laura is often considered the first noir. It’s a superb book and was well … Continue readings

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EDITOR’S CHOICE One of our favourite food writers, Nigel Slater is not only a cook who writes, but a great broadcaster. Slater writes a popular food column for the Observer. He has also appeared in five television series and has written numerous books, including his award-winning memoir Toast (adapted by the BBC for television) and … Continue readings

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Letters of Note, Letterheady and Lists of Note are just a few of the sites that enterprising Shaun Usher runs. The Letters of Note site, which we love, features really interesting, erudite pieces of letters that probably otherwise wouldn’t see the light of day in modern times. Usher has published a critically acclaimed book, Letters … Continue readings

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Best-selling American author Gaelen Foley is probably best-known to romance fans for her books featuring the ‘Knight family’ and the ‘Inferno Club’ series.  She also writes as EG Foley, with her husband Eric, producing young adult fantasy novels. Her adult historical novels include: His Wicked Kiss (Knight family).   See also: Mary Balogh (early); Anne … Continue readings

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Award-winning writer Lisa Kleypas established herself as a leading historical-romance writer, especially with the series of books featuring ‘The Wallflowers’ and the ‘Hathaways’. In recent years she has also written several contemporary romances, which deal with issues such as domestic violence, poverty and racism. Her heroines are always strong, quirky characters who often overcome adversity … Continue readings

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EDITOR’S CHOICE Irish dramatist and poet WB Yeats is amongst The Literary Shed’s favourite poets. One of the leading figures of 20th-century literature, Yeats has influenced many writers, poets, musicians and artists. An Irish nationalist, much of Yeats’ early work focuses on that subject and his love for fellow nationalist Maude Gonne. Yeats was close … Continue readings

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  Respected and revered Irish-born writer and dramatist George Bernard Shaw was a member of the Fabian Society and a founder of the London School of Economics. He wrote essays, short stories, articles and more than 60 plays during his life time, including Saint Joan and Androcles and the Lion.   See also: TS Eliot; … Continue readings

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  EDITOR’S CHOICE Alistair Maclean. What can I say? Master of great plots, action-page turners, involving major complicated international operations full of spies, international intrigue and so much more. Like so many other people, I grew up reading him. He’s superb. Born in Glasgow, Maclean grew up speaking Gaellic, with English as his second language. … Continue readings

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New York Times best-selling author Alex Kava has been compared to such illustrious crime-fiction authors as Patricia Cornwell and Kathy Reichs. Her character FBI investigator Maggie O’Dell and tightly constructed plots have captured the imagination of millions of people around the world.  She has also written two standalone titles, One False Move and Whitewash.   … Continue readings

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A leading historical novelist, Margaret George travelled around a lot when she was a child. Books became her friends and she began writing at an early age. After reading english and biology at Tufts University and gaining a masters in ecology from Stanford, George became a science writer. Her first book on Henry VIII was … Continue readings

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Historian Garrett Mattingly was born in Washington, DC. After serving as a sergeant in the US Army in the First World War, Mattingly completed his undergraduate degree at Harvard and at various universities in Europe. After a brief sojourn in publishing, he received his Masters from Harvard and embarked on a prestigious academic career. He … Continue readings

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EDITOR’S CHOICE Brilliant writer Dame Penelope Lively was born in Cairo. As a teenager, she was sent to boarding school in England before going on to read Modern History at St Anne’s College, Oxford. Lively is a critically acclaimed, award-winning author of both adult and children’s fiction. Her books include Moon Tiger (1987), which won … Continue readings