Penelope Lively


Penelope Lively has been writing short stories for over forty years. METAMORPHOSIS is a selection from her three previous collections, with an introduction by the author in which she reflects on the way in which the stories themselves, as she made the selection, seemed to have their own narrative of changing style, of changing preoccupations about the times in which she has lived. At either end of the selection are two long new stories, not previously published - their length also a new departure.

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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