Penelope Lively

Golden Man Booker Shortlist

On May 26th 2018 the announcement of the Golden Man Booker shortlist revealed that Penelope Lively's 1987 novel 'Moon Tiger' was one of the shortlisted five, chosen by five judges, one for each decade of the fifty years that the Booker Prize has been running. Poet Lemn Sissay was judge for the eighties, and he chose 'Moon Tiger' out of the ten books that won the prize in that decade.

The ultimate selection of the Golden Man Booker book is to be made by popular vote. You can vote on the Man Booker website any time now until June 25th. The winner will be announced on July 8th at the culminating event of the weekend long Booker celebratory events on the South Bank. On Saturday 7th July Penelope and Anne Enright will be in conversation in the Purcell Room, chaired by Martha Kearney.

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Penelope Lively is the author of many prize-winning novels and short-story collections for both adults and children. She has twice been shortlisted for the Booker Prize: once in 1977 for her first novel, The Road to Lichfield, and again in 1984 for According to Mark. She later won the 1987 Booker Prize for her highly acclaimed novel Moon Tiger.

Her other books include Going Back; Judgement Day; Next to Nature, Art; Perfect Happiness; Passing On; City of the Mind; Cleopatra’s Sister; Heat Wave; Beyond the Blue Mountains, a collection of short stories; Oleander, Jacaranda, a memoir of her childhood days in Egypt; Spiderweb; her autobiographical work, A House Unlocked; The Photograph; Making It Up; Consequences; Family Album, which was shortlisted for the 2009 Costa Novel Award, and How It All Began.

She is a popular writer for children and has won both the Carnegie Medal and the Whitbread Award. She was appointed CBE in the 2001 New Year’s Honours List, and DBE in 2012.

Penelope Lively lives in London. She was married to Jack Lively, who died in 1998.



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"Lively conjures up rich colour and feeling so sensuously, but austerely, confining herself for the most part to simple words and taut syntax."


"Penelope Lively is perhaps best known for her Booker-winning MOON TIGER. . .This, written. . .with a searing and entirely contemporary eye, should be rated as one of her most impressive works."

Family Album

"Delightful . . . complex and exquisite. Penelope Lively's prose is beautiful and spare and she is a master of understatement."

Next to Nature, Art

"A fluent, funny, ultimately moving romance in which lovers share centre stage with Lively's persuasive meditations on history and fate. . .a book of great charm with a real intellectual resonance at its core."

Cleopatra's Sister

"One of Britain's most talented and experienced writers. The closer you look the more mystery you see."

The Photograph

"Start reading this absorbing novel and I promise you the toast will burn and the kettle will boil dry. Don’t, whatever you do, put it down for one second because someone will pinch it."

Passing On

"Startling and soothing, uncommonly paced, this is a book to treasure.. . Three cheers for this gorgeous writing."

How It All Began

"To read Penelope Lively's book is like slipping into the finest cashmere: beautifully woven, fluid and expensive. Once experienced, it is impossible to enjoy inferior materials."

The Photograph

"A tour de force . . , Lively has rediscovered the form with this superb collection."

The Purple Swamp Hen