Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, born to an Igbo family, she grew up in Nsukka, Nigeria with her 5 siblings – with her being 5th youngest.
Both her parents worked at the university, her mother being the first female registrar there, and her childhood home was once the home of Nigerian novelist Chinua Achebe’s.

When she was 19 she left Nigeria to study communications and political science at Drexel University in Philadelphia. Before arriving in the USA, the colour of her skin had never been an identifying feature her, but as race, as an idea, became something that she had to navigate and learn, she was confronted with what it meant to be black in the USA. A subject that can be found in many of her novels, and is especially prominent and dealt with in her 2013 novel Americanah.

Not surprising, Chinua Achebe was her original and initial inspiration to writing after reading his novel Things Fall Apart, at the age of 10. She has said she was inspired by seeing her own life represented in the pages of his book; something she is now passing on to new readers through her own books.

After initially writing poetry, and having her poetry collection Decisions published in 1997, she wrote the play For Love of Biafra in 1998. Followed by several short stories published in literary journals, and she went on winning various writing competitions. 
Her first novel, published in 2003, was  Purple Hibiscus; which won the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize and the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award. Soon followed by Half of a Yellow Sun in 2006, which won the Orange Prize, was a National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist and a New York Times Notable Book. Her maybe best known novel is the powerful story about love, race and identity; her 2013 novel Americanah, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award and was named one of The New York Times Top Ten Best Books of 2013. She was voted the Women’s Prize Winner of Winners in November 2020 and her work has been translated into over thirty languages and has appeared in various publications, including The New Yorker and the Financial Times. 

In her 2009 TED Talk, The Danger of A Single Story, she talks about how she found her authentic cultural voice, and warns that if we hear only a single story about another person or country, we risk a critical misunderstanding. Her talk is one of the 24 most viewed TED Talks of all times. Her second TED Talk in 2012, We Should All Be Feminists, started a worldwide conversation about feminism and was published as a book in 2014. 

Her most recent physical book, Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions,  contains practical advice and goes right to the heart of sexual politics in the 21st century. 

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, divides her time between Nigeria, where she regularly teaches writing workshops, and the United States. 

You can’t write a script in your mind and then force yourself to follow it. You have to let yourself be.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Purple Hibiscus

Available as an eBook and physical book

When Nigeria begins to fall apart under a military coup, Kambili’s father, involved in mysterious ways with the unfolding political crisis, sends Kambili and her brother away to their aunt’s. Here she discovers love and a life – dangerous and heathen – beyond the confines of her father’s authority.

Half of a Yellow Sun

Available as a physical book

Set in Nigeria during the 1960s, this novel contains three main characters who get swept up in the violence during these turbulent years. It is about Africa, about the end of colonialism, about class and race, and the ways in which love can complicate these things.

The Thing Around Your Neck

Available as an eBook and physical book

The stories in this collection from Orange-Prize winner Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie straddle the cultures of Nigeria and the West. Her characters battle with the responsibilities of modern life, a world in which identity is too often compromised.


Available as an eBook and physical book

From the award-winning author of ‘Half of a Yellow Sun’, a powerful story of love, race and identity. As teenagers in Lagos, Ifemelu and Obinze fall in love. Their Nigeria is under military dictatorship, and people are fleeing the country if they can. The self-assured Ifemelu departs for America. There she suffers defeats and triumphs, finds and loses relationships, all the while feeling the weight of something she never thought of back home: race.

We Should All Be Feminists

Available as an eBook, eAudiobook and physical book

What does ‘feminism’ mean today? That is the question at the heart of this personal, eloquently-argued essay by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, the award-winning author of ‘Americanah’ and ‘Half of a Yellow Sun’.

Dear Ijeawele: a feminist manifesto in fifteen suggestions

Available as an eBook, eAudiobook and physical book

Adichie replies by letter to a friend’s request for help on how to bring up her newborn baby girl as a feminist. With its 15 pieces of practical advice, the text goes right to the heart of sexual politics in the 21st century.

The Arrangements: A Work of Fiction

Available as an eAudiobook

From one of our greatest writers, a short story about today’s befuddling political climate, an imaginary account of a day in the life of Melania Trump and a fictional glimpse into the lives of the strange family residing in Trump Tower.

Racism should never have happened and so you don’t get a cookie for reducing it.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Americanah

Head over to the BorrowBox app, or our online catalogue to browse all the amazing books written by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

Zadie Smith

Novelist Zadie Smith was born in North London in 1975 to an English father and a Jamaican mother. She read English at Cambridge, graduating in 1997.  Her latest work – Intimations – is a collection of essays written as lockdown started in the UK and completed around the time that George Floyd was murdered in the US.  

Her acclaimed first novel, White Teeth (2000), is a vibrant portrait of contemporary multicultural London, told through the story of three ethnically diverse families. The book won a number of awards and prizes, including the Guardian First Book Award, the Whitbread First Novel Award, and the Commonwealth Writers Prize (Overall Winner, Best First Book). It also won two EMMA (BT Ethnic and Multicultural Media Awards) for Best Book/Novel and Best Female Media Newcomer, and was shortlisted for the Mail on Sunday/John Llewellyn Rhys Prize, the Orange Prize for Fiction and the Author’s Club First Novel Award. White Teeth has been translated into over twenty languages and was adapted for Channel 4 television in 2002. 

Her third novel, On Beauty, was published in 2005, and won the 2006 Orange Prize for Fiction. She has also published two collections of non-fiction, Changing My Mind: Occasional Essays (2009) and Feel Free (2018), and a collection of short stories, Grand Union (2019). 

Smith has won/been nominated for the following awards: 

Langston Hughes Medal 
Man Booker Prize (longlist) 

Women’s Prize for Fiction (shortlist) 

Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize 
British Book Awards Decibel Writer of the Year 
Commonwealth Writers Prize (Eurasia Region, Best Book) 
Orange Prize for Fiction 
Somerset Maugham Award 

Man Booker Prize for Fiction (shortlist) 

Jewish Quarterly Literary Prize for Fiction 
Orange Prize for Fiction (shortlist) 
Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award 

Authors’ Club First Novel Award 
Commonwealth Writers Prize (Overall Winner, Best First Book) 
Orange Prize for Fiction (shortlist) 
WH Smith Award for Best New Talent 

EMMA (BT Ethnic and Multicultural Media Award) for Best Book/Novel 
EMMA (BT Ethnic and Multicultural Media Award) for Best Female Media Newcomer 
Guardian First Book Award 
James Tait Black Memorial Prize (for fiction) 
Mail on Sunday/John Llewellyn Rhys Prize (shortlist) 
Whitbread First Novel Award 

Smith is an environmental campaigner and activist who supports Writers Rebel.

You are never stronger… than when you land
on the wrong side of despair

Zadie Smith, White Teeth

White Teeth

Available as an eBook, eAudiobook and physical book

Zadie Smith’s White Teeth is a classic international bestseller and an unforgettable portrait of LondonOne of the most talked about fictional debuts ever, White Teeth is a funny, generous, big-hearted novel, adored by critics and readers alike. Dealing – among many other things – with friendship, love, war, three cultures and three families over three generations, one brown mouse, and the tricky way the past has of coming back and biting you on the ankle, it is a life-affirming, riotous must-read of a book.

The Autograph Man

Available as an eBook, eAudiobook and physical book

Zadie Smith’s deeply funny, subversive and splendidly entertaining The Autograph Man is a whirlwind tour of celebrity and our fame-obsessed times. Following one Alex-Li Tandem – a twenty-something, Chinese-Jewish autograph dealer turned on by sex, drugs and organised religion – it takes in London and New York, love and death, fathers and sons, as Alex tries to discover how a piece of paper can bring him closer to his heart’s desire. Exposing our misconceptions about our idols – about ourselves – Zadie Smith delivers a brilliant, unforgettable tale about who we are and what we really want to be.

On Beauty

Available as an eBook and physical book

When Howard Belsey’s oldest son Jerome falls for Victoria, the stunning daughter of the right-wing Monty Kipps, both families find themselves thrown together, enacting a cultural and personal war against each other. 

Changing my Mind

Available as an eBook and physical book

Features a collection of essays on literature, cinema, art – and everything in between.


Available as an eBook, eAudiobook and physical book

Hobbes, Smith, Bentham, Locke and Russell. Five identical blocks make up the Caldwell housing estate in North West London. Caldwell kids Leah, Natalie, Felix and Nathan have all moved on. They occupy separate worlds in an atomized city. Then one afternoon a stranger comes to Leah’s door, forcing her out of her isolation.

The Embassy of Cambodia

Available as a physical book

Zadie Smith takes us deep into the life of a young woman, Fatou, domestic servant to the Derawals and escapee from one set of hardships to another. Beginning and ending outside the Embassy of Cambodia, which happens to be located in Willesden, NW London, Zadie Smith’s absorbing, moving and wryly observed story suggests how the apparently small things in an ordinary life always raise larger, more extraordinary questions.

Swing Time

Available as an eBook, eAudiobook and physical book

Two girls dream of being dancers – but only one, Tracey, has talent. The other has ideas: about rhythm and time, about black bodies and black music, what constitutes a tribe, or makes a person truly free. It’s a close but complicated childhood friendship that ends abruptly in their early twenties, never to be revisited, but never quite forgotten, either. Dazzlingly energetic and deeply human, ‘Swing Time’ is a story about friendship and music and stubborn roots, about how we are shaped by these things and how we can survive them. 

Feel Free

Available as an eAudiobook and physical book

In ‘Feel Free’, pop culture, high culture, social change, and political debate all get the Zadie Smith treatment, dissected with razor-sharp intellect, set brilliantly against the context of the utterly contemporary, and considered with a deep humanity and compassion. This electrifying new collection showcases its author as a true literary powerhouse, demonstrating once again her credentials as an essential voice of her generation.

Grand Union

Available as an eBook, eAudiobook and physical book

Interleaving ten completely new and unpublished stories with some of her best-loved pieces from the New Yorker and elsewhere, Zadie Smith presents a dizzyingly rich and varied collection of fiction. 


Available as a physical book

Deeply personal and powerfully moving, a short and timely series of essays on the experience of lockdown, by one of the most clear-sighted and essential writers of our time.

Sometimes I wonder if people don’t want freedom
as much as they want meaning.

Zadie Smith, Swing Time

Pat Barker

Pat Barker was born in Yorkshire in 1953.  She was brought up by her grandparents and despite having a tough home life she secured a place at grammar school aged 11 and never looked back. 

Her blunt and direct style of writing, along with her unflinching way of dealing with themes of memory, trauma, survival and recovery have found her a place amongst the most loved and popular authors of our time. 

She is well-known for her Regeneration trilogy set in World War 1 and her books have won many awards. She has an unflinching eye and does not turn her gaze from uncomfortable truths. In her latest novel, The Silence of the Girls, she reveals the misogyny of ancient Greece and its resonance for modern times. Pat Barker is also a featured author in the September theme of Conflict and Crime for the BBC Novels That Shaped Our World. The film Stanley and Iris starring Robert de Niro was loosely based on her first novel, Union Street 

“She was educated at the London School of Economics, where she read International History, and at Durham University. She taught History and Politics until 1982. She began to write in her mid-twenties and was encouraged to pursue her career as a writer by the novelist Angela Carter. Her early novels dealt with the harsh lives of working-class women living in the north of England. Her first book, Union Street (1982) won the Fawcett Society Book Prize.  Her second, Blow Your House Down (1984), was adapted for the stage by Sarah Daniels in 1994. The Century’s Daughter (re-published as Liza’s England in 1996) was published in 1986, followed by The Man Who Wasn’t There in 1989. 

In 1983 she was named as one of the 20 ‘Best Young British Novelists’ in a promotion run by the Book Marketing Council and Granta magazine. Her trilogy of novels about the First World War, which began with Regeneration in 1991, was partly inspired by her grandfather’s experiences fighting in the trenches in France. Regeneration was made into a film in 1997 starring Jonathan Pryce and James Wilby. The Eye in the Door (1993), the second novel in the trilogy, won the Guardian Fiction Prize, and The Ghost Road (1995), the final novel in the series, won the Booker Prize for Fiction. Another World (1998), although set in contemporary Newcastle, is overshadowed by the memories of an old man who fought in the First World War. 

Her novel Border Crossing (2001) describes the relationship between a child psychologist and a young man convicted of murder 13 years earlier. Double Vision (2003) concerns the atrocity of war and two men who are caught up in its shadow. 

Pat Barker was awarded a CBE in 2000. Her latest novels are Life Class (2007), Toby’s Room (2012), returning to the First World War, Noonday (2015) and The Silence of the Girls (2018).” (From 

Another person’s life, observed from the outside, always has a shape and definition that one’s own life lacks.

Pat Barker

The Man Who Wasn’t There

Available as a physical book

Twelve-year-old Colin knows little about his father except that he must have fought in the war. His mother, totally absorbed by the nightclub where she works, says nothing about him, and Colin turns to films for images of what his father might have been. Weaving in and out of Colin’s real life, his imagined film explores issues of loyalty and betrayal and searches for the answer to the question ‘What is a man?’


Available as a physical book

Craiglockhart War Hospital, Scotland, 1917, and army psychiatrist William Rivers is treating shell-shocked soldiers. Under his care are the poets Siegfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen, as well as mute Billy Prior, who is only able to communicate by means of pencil and paper. Rivers’s job is to make the men in his charge healthy enough to fight. Yet the closer he gets to mending his patients’ minds the harder becomes every decision to send them back to the horrors of the front. Pat Barker’s Regeneration is the classic exploration of how the traumas of war brutalised a generation of young men.

The Eye in the Door

Available as a physical book

It is 1918, and Prior is in London working as an intelligence officer. His concern is the enemy within – though a clear definition of who exactly the enemy is proves harder to come by than he might have imagined.

Ghost Road

Available as a physical book

This book challenges our assumptions about relationships between the classes, doctors and patients, men and women, and men and men. It completes the author’s exploration of the First World War, and is a timeless depiction of humanity in extremis.

Border Crossing

Available as an eBook, eAudiobook and physical book

When Tom Seymour, a child psychologist, plunges into a river to save a young man from drowning, he unwittingly reopens a chapter from his past he’d hoped to forget. For Tom already knows Danny Miller. When Danny was ten Tom helped imprison him for the killing of an old woman. Now out of prison with a new identity, Danny has some questions – questions he thinks only Tom can answer. Reluctantly, Tom is drawn back into Danny’s world – a place where the border between good and evil, innocence and guilt is blurred and confused. But when Danny’s demands on Tim become extreme, Tom wonders whether he has crossed a line of his own – and in crossing it, can he ever go back?

Double Vision

Available as an eBook, eAudiobook and physical books coming soon!

Insomnia, exhaustion, recurring nightmares. Stephen Sharkey is suffering the after effects of his career as a war reporter, most recently in Afghanistan, where Ben Frobisher, war photographer and friend, has been shot dead on assignment. Hanging up his flak jacket and turning his back on the everyday reality of war, Stephen moves into a quiet and peaceful cottage in the north of England. It seems the perfect environment in which to write his book on the representations of war, one that will be based largely on Ben Frobisher’s work. But Stephen’s supposed isolation offers no protection from other people’s suffering or the shattering effects of human brutality.

Life Class

Available as an eBook, eAudiobook and physical books

When war breaks out in 1914, Paul Tarrant, a student at the Slade School of Art, leaves behind his attempted life as an artist and his beautiful fellow-student Elinor to tend to casualties on the front line.

Toby’s Room

Available as an eBook, eAudiobook and physical book

Toby and Elinor, brother and sister, friends and confidants, are sharers of a dark secret, carried from the summer of 1912 into the battlefields of France and wartime London in 1917.


Available as an eBook, eAudiobook and physical book

Paul Tarrant, Elinor Brooke and Kit Neville first met in 1914 at the Slade School of Art, before their generation lost hope, faith and much else besides on the battlefields of Ypres and the Somme. Now it is 1940, they are middle-aged, and another war has begun. London is a haunted city. Some have even turned to séances in an attempt to contact lost loved ones. As the bombs fall and Elinor and the others struggle to survive, old temptations and obsessions return, and all of them are forced to make choices about what they really want.

The Silence of the Girls

Available as a physical book

When her city falls to the Greeks, Briseis’s old life is shattered. She is transformed from queen to captive, from free woman to slave, awarded to the god-like warrior Achilles as a prize of war. And she’s not alone. On the same day, and on many others in the course of a long and bitter war, innumerable women have been wrested from their homes and flung to the fighters. The Trojan War is known as a man’s story: a quarrel between men over a woman, stolen from her home and spirited across the sea. But what of the other women in this story, silenced by history? What words did they speak when alone with each other, in the laundry, at the loom, when laying out the dead?

Half the world’s work is done by hopeless neurotics

Pat Barker, The Eye in the Door

Toni Morrison

Toni Morrison (born Chloe Ardelia Wofford) was an American author, editor, and professor who won the 1993 Nobel Prize in Literature for being an author “who in novels characterized by visionary force and poetic import, gives life to an essential aspect of American reality.”  She was a multi -award winning author, essayist who spoke up for the rights of others, using her own experiences of racism and oppression to educate the world to be a better place.   

Her novels are known for their epic themes, vivid dialogue, and richly detailed African American characters; among the best known are her novels The Bluest Eye, Song of Solomon , and Beloved , which won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1988. In 2001 she was named one of “The 30 Most Powerful Women in America” by Ladies’ Home Journal. 

 In 1949, Morrison decided to attend a historically black institution for her college education. She moved to Washington, D.C. to attend Howard University. While in college, Morrison experienced racial segregation in a new way. She witnessed how racial hierarchy divided people of color based on their skin tone. However, the community at Howard University also allowed her to make connections with other writers, artists, and activists that influenced her work. After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in English, Morrison attended Cornell University to earn the Master of Arts in English. When she graduated in 1955, she began teaching English at Texas Southern University but returned to Howard University as a professor. While back at the university, Morrison taught the young civil rights activist Stokely Carmichael. In 2012 President Barack Obama presented her with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.   

Morrison wrote children’s books with her son Slade. Morrison had stopped working on Home when he died. She said that afterwards, “I stopped writing until I began to think, He would be really put out if he thought that he had caused me to stop. ‘Please, Mom, I’m dead, could you keep going …?’ She finished Home and dedicated it to Slade. Her other son Harold is an architect. In an interview with Telegraph in 2012, Toni explained what it was like raising her two sons alone. She said, “I don’t think I did any of that very well. I did it ad hoc, like any working mother does.”   

Morrison died in New York City, on August 5, 2019, from complications of pneumonia. She was 88 years old.  

You can find a list of all the awards she won here .  

Her birthday, 18 February is dedicated Toni Morrison day in her hometown Lorain, Ohio 

If there is a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, you must be the one to write it.

Toni Morrison


The Bluest Eye

Available as a physical book

The Bluest Eye chronicles the tragic, torn lives of a poor black family in 1940s Ohio. Pecola, unlovely and unloved, prays each night for blue eyes like those of her privileged white schoolfellows.


Available as a physical book, eBook and eAudiobook

This is a novel set in a small town in Ohio, focusing on two girls, Nell and Sula, both black, both poor, who share their dreams until Sula escapes to live a vagrant city life for ten years. When she returns, the bond of their friendship is broken.

Song of Solomon

Available as a physical book, eBook and eAudiobook

This is the story of Macon Dead as he makes a voyage of rediscovery, travelling southwards geographically and inwards spiritually. Through the enlightenment of one man, the novel recapitulates the history of slavery and liberation..

Tar Baby

Available as a physical book, eBook and eAudiobook

Jadine is a graduate of the Sorbonne, art historian, American black living in Paris and Rome. Son is a criminal on the run, uneducated, violent, contemptuous, an American black from small-town Florida. He is a threat to her freedom: she is a threat to his identity.


Available as a physical book, eBook and eAudiobook

It’s the mid-1800s. At Sweet Home in Kentucky, an era is ending as slavery comes under attack from the abolitionists. The worlds of Halle & Paul D. are to be destroyed in a cataclysm of agony & torment. The world of Sethe is to turn to violence & death.


Available as a physical book, eBook and eAudiobook

Joe Trace shoots his lover, the impetuous 18-year-old Dorcas. At the funeral his determined, hardworking wife Violet tries to disfigure the corpse with a knife. Their story captures the complex humanity of black American urban life at that time.


Available as a physical book, eBook and eAudiobook

Following the lives of 4 young women, this novel tells the story of a war (cultural, racial, religious) between two communities, each claiming a patent on the truth, each convinced it is defending Paradise.


Available as a physical book.

Many women are obsessed by Bill Cosey, owner of the Cosey Hotel and resort. More than just the owner he shapes their yearnings for a father, husband, lover, guardian and friend. Even after his death he dominates their lives. Yet he was driven by secret forces – a troubled past and a woman called Celestial.

A Mercy

Available as a physical book and eBook

Set in America in the 1680s, ‘A Mercy’ reveals what lies under the surface of slavery. At its heart, this is the ambivalent, disturbing story of a mother and a daughter – a mother who cuts off her daughter, to save her, and a daughter who may never exorcise that abandonment.


Available as a physical book

A self-loathing veteran of the Korean War, Frank Money finds himself back in racist America after enduring trauma on the front lines that left him with more than just physical scars. But as Frank revisits his memories from childhood and the war, he discovers a profound courage he thought he could never possess again.

God Help the Child

Available as a physical book and eBook

At the centre: a young woman who calls herself Bride, whose stunning blue-black skin is only one element of her beauty, her boldness and confidence, her success in life, but which caused her light-skinned mother to deny her even the simplest forms of love. There is Booker, the man Bride loves, and loses to anger. Rain, the mysterious white child with whom she crosses paths. And finally Sweetness, Bride’s mother herself, who takes a lifetime to come to understand that ‘what you do to children matters.


Mouth Full of Blood

Available as a physical book, eBook and eAudiobook

The collection is structured in three parts and these are heart-stoppingly introduced by a prayer for the dead of 9/11, a meditation on Martin Luther King and a eulogy for James Baldwin. Morrison’s Nobel lecture, on the power of language, is accompanied by lectures to Amnesty International and the Newspaper Association of America. She speaks to graduating students and visitors to both the Louvre and America’s Black Holocaust Museum. She revisits The Bluest Eye, Sula and Beloved; reassessing the novels that have become touchstones for generations of readers.


Available as a physical book, eBook and eAudiobook

An exploration of race from one of the twentieth century’s primary chroniclers of the African American experience. Is who we are really only skin deep? In this searing, remonstrative book, Toni Morrison unravels race through the stories of those debased and dehumanised because of it.

Playing in the Dark

Available as a ???

Toni Morrison’s brilliant discussions of the “Africanist” presence in the fiction of Poe, Melville, Cather, and Hemingway leads to a dramatic reappraisal of the essential characteristics of our literary tradition. She shows how much the themes of freedom and individualism, manhood and innocence, depended on the existence of a black population that was manifestly unfree–and that came to serve white authors as embodiments of their own fears and desires.

The measure of our lives

Available as a ???

This inspirational book juxtaposes quotations, one to a page, drawn from Toni Morrison’s entire body of work, both fiction and nonfiction–from The Bluest Eye to God Help the Child, from Playing in the Dark to The Source of Self-Regard–to tell a story of self-actualization. It aims to evoke the totality of Toni Morrison’s literary vision.

Goodness and the literary imagination

Available as a ???

What exactly is goodness? Where is it found in the literary imagination? Toni Morrison, one of American letters’ greatest voices, pondered these perplexing questions in her celebrated Ingersoll Lecture, delivered at Harvard University in 2012 and published now for the first time in book form. Perhaps because it is overshadowed by the more easily defined evil, goodness often escapes our attention. Recalling many literary examples, from Ahab to Coetzee’s Michael K, Morrison seeks the essence of goodness and ponders its significant place in her writing. She considers the concept in relation to unforgettable characters from her own works of fiction and arrives at conclusions that are both eloquent and edifying.

Birth of a nation-hood

Available as a ???

Toni Morrison contributes an introduction and brings together thirteen essays, all written especially for this book, by distinguished academics – black and white, male and female – on one of the grimmest and most revealing moments of American history: the O J Simpson case.

Death is a sure thing but life is just as certain. Problem is you can’t know in advance.

Toni Morrison, Home

Terry Pratchett

Terry Pratchett was born in 1948 in Beaconsfield, Bucks, and decided to become a journalist after his first short story, ‘The Hades Business’, was published   in Science Fantasy magazine when he was fifteen years old. 

His first job was on the Bucks Free Press and he went on to work for various newspapers before becoming a publicity officer for the Central Electricity Generating Board in 1980. He became a full-time writer in 1987. His first novel, The Carpet People (1971), a humorous fantasy, was followed by The Dark Side of the Sun (1976) and Strata (1981). 1983 saw the publication of The Colour of Magic, which became the first in a long series of Discworld novels. BBC Radio Four serialised The Colour of Magic and Equal Rites (1987)and these brought him great popularity. There are now more than 40 books in this series, set in a surreal world on the back of four elephants that stand on the shell of Great A’Tuin, the sky turtle. The Discworld series is popular world-wide and has led to the production of much related merchandise.  

Hailed as one of the greatest humorous satirists, Pratchett was one of few writers to write across the adult/child divide. His book, Truckers (1989), was the first children’s book to appear in British adult fiction best-seller lists. 

Terry Pratchett wrote many novels for young readers, and the end-of-the-world novel Good Omens (1990) – in collaboration with Neil Gaiman. He also wrote several short stories, some of which are on Discworld themes. His books have sold over thirty-five million copies worldwide and have been translated into over thirty languages.  

He was awarded three honorary degrees, in 1999 by the University of Warwick, in 2001 by the University of Portsmouth, and in 2003 by the University of Bath. In 2009 he received a Knighthood. In 1968 he was married to Lyn Purves. They had a daughter, Rhianna Pratchett, who is also a writer. He lived with his family in Wiltshire. 
Terry Pratchett died in 2015, aged 66. 

Facts about Terry Pratchett 

1. He Was Knighted In 2009 Sir Terrence David John Pratchett was knighted, for his services to literature, by the Queen in 2009. 
In response, the newly knighted Sir Terry went on to create a coat of arms for himself. It bears the motto “noli timere messorem” which means, of course, “Don’t fear the reaper.” It has an ankh on it, in honor of his Discworld hub of Ankh-Morpork, and an owl carrying two books. 
He also went out and made himself a sword, because a knight isn’t a proper knight without one. Instead of buying one in a shop, he went into the fields behind his home, dug up some ore, and took it to a local blacksmith. There he smelted it himself. He added thunderbolt iron from a meteorite, which is considered to have magic. He also had his own motto: “Noli timere messorem.” It meant “don’t fear the reaper.” 

2. He Loved Playing Video Games 
Sir Terry was just as big of a nerd as his fans. The Luggage, a memorable Discworld character (if a sentient trunk counts as a character), was created during a game of Dungeons & Dragons in his youth. 
He enjoyed video games like Thief, Half Life 2OblivionTomb Raider and Doom. He painted Warhammer miniatures and expressed a desire to one day write a book set in that universe. (Imagine what a Terry Pratchett Warhammer book would have been!) 
Sir Terry also loved technology and embraced new advances. In the 1990s he was even active on a Usenet group about his books. Usenet! Those were the days. 

3. His Daughter Writes Video Games 
After Sir Terry’s passing, it was announced that his daughter Rhianna was to be the new custodian of his works, including the legacy of Discworld. Rhianna Pratchett is a fantastic writer and producer in her own right, working in video game storytelling; she is most recently responsible for the latest Lara Croft games. She has made it clear there will be no more Discworld novels. 

This year (2020) Terry Pratchett’s production company Narrativia has announced a new development deal to make several series adaptations of the late author’s fantasy novels. There are currently no details of which books the partnership will tackle, though many of Pratchett’s books have been adapted before: Sky has dramatised Hogfather, The Colour of Magic and Going Postal; Soul Music and Wyrd Sisters have been turned into animations, and Good Omens, starring David Tennant as the demon Crowley and Michael Sheen as the angel Aziraphale, was recently aired on Amazon Prime and the BBC, to positive reviews. BBC America is also producing The Watch, a series based on Pratchett’s stories about the City Watch police. 

4. He Wanted To Be An Astronomer 
Sir Pratchett wanted to be an astronomer, especially when he was a child. He would collect cards of stars and planets like some children collect Pokémon. He spent much of his youth looking into a telescope. It was his interest in space that sparked his passion for his writing. Even as an adult Sir Pratchett had an observatory in his back garden. To honour Sir Pratchett, NASA named a small asteroid after him. It’s called 127005 Pratchett. 

5. He was a trustee The Orangutan Foundation 
The Librarian of Unseen University is a fan favourite character in the Discworld novels. He’s also a primate. Technically, he was once a wizard, and through some magical mishap, was turned into an orangutan. (He much prefers it, to be honest.) Sir Terry loved orangutans, so much so that he became a trustee of the Orangutan Foundation, which strives to keep them from going extinct. In 2013, Sir Terry went to Borneo with the BBC to film a documentary called Facing Extinction, where he met some orangutans and tried to raise public awareness of their plight. 

6. Sir Pratchett Was A Humanist 
Sir Pratchett liked to describe himself as a humanist. He was named Humanist Of The Year by the British Humanist Association in 2013. 

7. Sir Pratchett Wrote (Or Co-Wrote) More Than 70 Books 
His first story was published when he was 13. He had a short story published in his school magazine. His first commercial publication came to a couple of years after when he was 15. Sir Pratchett had been working on his craft until his death in 2015. 

Until 2005, Terry Pratchett was the top-selling author of all time in the UK, only unseated by the juggernaut that is J.K. Rowling. His books have been translated into 36 different languages, and have sold over 80 million copies world-wide. He was once called “the most shoplifted author in Great Britain,”. 

8. He Was Diagnosed With Alzheimer’s Disease 
Sir Terry was diagnosed with a rare form of Alzheimer’s disease in 2007. He called it “the embuggerance,” and faced it with his patented brand of humour and philosophy. Not being one to let anything stop him, he became an early adopter of voice recognition software, once typing out his books became too difficult. 

After his diagnosis, Sir Terry became a staunch supporter of Alzheimer’s research, donating millions of pounds to finding a cure, as well as advocating for right-to-die legislation. A documentary produced by the BBC called Choosing to Die followed him as he looked into assisted suicide. It won a Scottish BAFTA and an International Emmy. 

9. He Was Devoted To His Books 
With the progress of his disease, typing was no longer an option for him, but did this stop the great knight? No. He made a vow to keep writing despite his diagnosis. Sir Pratchett used a speech recognition software to stay true to his vow and published his books at the same rate as before the diagnosis. 

10. Cameo film roles 
With over 40 Discworld books to choose from, it’s rather amazing more of them haven’t made it to the big screen. There have been attempts, some more successful than others. Three books have made the leap from page to screen: Hogfather, Going Postal, and The Colour of Magic. In each film version, Sir Terry has a brief blink-and-you’ll-miss-it cameo. 

In Hogfather he’s a toy maker. In The Colour of Magic, he’s an astrozoologist. His best part is playing a mailman in Going Postal. His wry wit and sparkling personality completely take over the moment he’s on camera. Not many can say they stole the show from the man playing Lord Vetinari, Charles Dance himself! 

11. Constant Companion 
While there are many reoccurring characters in the Discworld books, the most memorable is Death. He speaks in capital letters and has a fondness for humans that sometimes seems at odds with his job description. The character appears in every single Discworld book except one, The Wee Free Men. A version of him even makes it into Good Omens, the fantastic book Pratchett co-wrote with his good friend Neil Gaiman. Not to be too much of a downer, but the character of Death was also the one who announced Sir Terry’s passing on his Twitter account. (The tweet was actually written by his long-time friend and assistant, Rob Wilkins.) It read: 
Terry took Death’s arm and followed him through the doors and on to the black desert under the endless night. 
The End. 

12. GNU Terry Pratchett 
Sir Terry Pratchett passed away on March 12, 2015. His fans, broken-hearted as they were, found solace in a quote from Going Postal, one of his best novels. 
“A man’s not dead while his name’s still spoken.” 
Taking inspiration from this, Pratchett fans set out to make sure his name could never be forgotten. In Going Postal, a series of telegraphic like towers called clacks will send a memorial bit of hacked code if a worker has died. It was called GNU, and ensured the name would go up and down the lines for as long as there were lines to travel. G stood for passing on the message, N meant “not logged,” and U meant it must be sent back when it reached the end of the line. Thus, GNU Terry Pratchett was born. 

Fans worked to insert “GNU Terry Pratchett” into everything they could get their hands on. It became a Twitter hashtag, found itself embedded in everything from HTML to WordPress coding, and became part of many Discworld fan’s signatures on fan sites, thus ensuring Sir Terry’s name is going 

Of course I’m sane, when trees start talking to me, I don’t talk back.

Terry Pratchett, The Light Fantastic

The Colour of Magic

Available as an eBook

In the beginning there was a turtle. 

Somewhere on the frontier between thought and reality exists the Discworld, a parallel time and place which might sound and smell very much like our own, but which looks completely different. Particularly as it’s carried though space on the back of a giant turtle (sex unknown). It plays by different rules. 

But then, some things are the same everywhere. The Disc’s very existence is about to be threatened by a strange new blight: the world’s first tourist, upon whose survival rests the peace and prosperity of the land. Unfortunately, the person charged with maintaining that survival in the face of robbers, mercenaries and, well, Death, is a spectacularly inept wizard.

The Light Fantastic

Available as an eBook and an eAudiobook

‘What shall we do?’ said Twoflower. ‘Panic?’ said Rincewind hopefully. He always held that panic was the best means of survival. 
As it moves towards a seemingly inevitable collision with a malevolent red star, the Discworld could do with a hero. What it doesn’t need is a singularly inept and cowardly wizard, still recovering from the trauma of falling off the edge of the world, or a well-meaning tourist and his luggage which has a mind (and legs) of its own. Which is a shame because that’s all there is… 

Equal Rites

Available as an eBook and an eAudiobook

The last thing the wizard Drum Billet did, before Death laid a bony hand on his shoulder, was to pass on his staff of power to the eighth son of an eighth son. Unfortunately for his colleagues in the chauvinistic (not to say misogynistic) world of magic, he failed to check that the baby in question was a son. Everybody knows that there’s no such thing as a female wizard. But now it’s gone and happened, there’s nothing much anyone can do about it. Let the battle of the sexes begin… 


Available as an eBook and an eAudiobook

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a policeman taking a holiday would barely have had time to open his suitcase before he finds his first corpse. Commander Sam Vimes of the Ankh-Morpork City Watch is on holiday in the pleasant and innocent countryside, but not for him a mere body in the wardrobe. There are many, many bodies – and an ancient crime more terrible than murder. He is out of his jurisdiction, out of his depth, out of bacon sandwiches, occasionally snookered and out of his mind. But never out of guile. Where there is a crime there must be a finding, there must be a chase and there must be a punishment. They say that in the end all sins are forgiven. But not quite all… Winner of the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize for Comic Fiction 

Raising Steam

Available as an eBook and an eAudiobook

It’s all change for Moist von Lipwig, swindler, conman, and (naturally) head of the Royal Bank and Post Office. A steaming, clanging new invention, driven by Dick Simnel, the man with t’flat cap and t’sliding rule, is drawing astonished crowds – including a few particularly keen young men armed with notepads and very sensible rainwear – and suddenly it’s a matter of national importance that the trains run on time. Moist does not enjoy hard work. 

The Shepherd’s Crown

Available as an eBook

A SHIVERING OF WORLDS Deep in the Chalk, something is stirring. The owls and the foxes can sense it, and Tiffany Aching feels it in her boots. An old enemy is gathering strength. This is a time of endings and beginnings, old friends and new, a blurring of edges and a shifting of power. Now Tiffany stands between the light and the dark, the good and the bad. As the fairy horde prepares for invasion, Tiffany must summon all the witches to stand with her. To protect the land. Her land. There will be a reckoning . . . THE FINAL DISCWORLD NOVEL 

The Long Earth

Available as an eBook and as an eAudiobook

1916: the Western Front. Private Percy Blakeney wakes up. He is lying on fresh spring grass. He can hear birdsong, and the wind in the leaves in the trees. Where has the mud, blood and blasted landscape of No Man’s Land gone?  

2015: Madison, Wisconsin. Cop Monica Jansson is exploring the burned-out home of a reclusive – some said mad, others dangerous – scientist when she finds a curious gadget: a box containing some wiring, a three-way switch and a…potato. It is the prototype of an invention that will change the way Mankind views his world for ever.  

Long Cosmos

Available as an eBook and as an eAudiobook

2070-71. Nearly six decades after Step Day and in the Long Earth, the new Next post-human society continues to evolve. For Joshua Valienté, now in his late sixties, it is time to take one last solo journey into the High Meggers: an adventure that turns into a disaster. Alone and facing death, his only hope of salvation lies with a group of trolls. But as Joshua confronts his mortality, the Long Earth receives a signal from the stars. A signal that is picked up by radio astronomers but also in more abstract ways – by the trolls and by the Great Traversers. Its message is simple but ts implications are enormous:JOIN US.Bit by bit, byte by byte, they assemble a computer the size of a continent – a device that will alter the Long Earth’s place within the cosmos and reveal the ultimate, life-affirming goal of those who sent the Message. Its impact will be felt by and resonate with all – mankind and other species, young and old, communities and individuals – who inhabit the Long Earths…

A Slip on the Keyboard

Available as an eBook

With a foreword by Neil GaimanTerry Pratchett has earned a place in the hearts of readers the world over with his bestselling Discworld series – but in recent years he has become equally well-known and respected as an outspoken campaigner for causes including Alzheimer’s research and animal rights. A Slip of the Keyboard brings together for the first time the finest examples of Pratchett’s non fiction writing, both serious and surreal: from musings on mushrooms to what it means to be a writer (and why banana daiquiris are so important); from memories of Granny Pratchett to speculation about Gandalf’s love life, and passionate defences of the causes dear to him.With all the humour and humanity that have made his novels so enduringly popular, this collection brings Pratchett out from behind the scenes of the Discworld to speak for himself – man and boy, bibliophile and computer geek, champion of hats, orang-utans and Dignity in Dying.

Good Omens

Available as an eBook and an eAuidobook

Events have been set in motion to bring about the End of Days. The armies of Good and Evil are gathering and making their way towards the sleepy English village of Lower Tadfield. The Four Horsepersons of the Apocalypse – War, Famine, Pollution and Death – are assembling.


Available as an eBook

Dodger is a tosher – a sewer scavenger living in the squalor of Dickensian London. Everyone who is nobody knows Dodger. Anyone who is anybody doesn’t. But when he rescues a young girl from a beating, suddenly everybody wants to know him. And Dodger’s tale of skulduggery, dark plans and even darker deeds begins . . . 


Available as an eBook and an eAudiobook

‘Outside! What’s it like?’ Masklin looked blank. ‘Well,’ he said. ‘It’s sort of big-‘To the thousands of the tiny nomes who live under the floorboards of a large department store, there is no Outside. Things like Day and Night, Sun and Rain are just daft old legends.Then a devastating piece of news shatters their existence: the Store – their whole world – is to be demolished. And it’s up to Maskin, one of the last nomes to come into the Store, to mastermind an unbelievable escape plan that will take all the nomes into the dangers of the great Outside…


Available as an eBook and an eAudiobook

When humans threaten their new home in the quarry, the natural thing would be to run and hide. But the nomes have got the wild idea that they should fight back. After all, everyone knows that nomes are faster and smarter than humans, and now they have a secret weapon . . . 

Only you can Save Mankind

Available as an eBook

As the mighty alien fleet from the latest computer game thunders across the screen, Johnny prepares to blow them into the usual million pieces. And they send him a message: We surrender.  

They’re not supposed to do that! They’re supposed to die. And computer joysticks don’t have ‘Don’t Fire’ buttons . . . 

But it’s only a game, isn’t it. Isn’t it? 

The Witch’s Vacuum Cleaner

Available as an eBook

Poor Mr Swimble is having a bad day. Rabbits are bouncing out of his hat, pigeons are flying out of his jacket and every time he points his finger, something magically appears – cheese sandwiches, socks . . . even a small yellow elephant on wheels! It’s becoming a real nuisance – and he’s allergic to rabbits. His friends at the Magic Rectangle can’t help, but the mysterious vacuum cleaner he saw that morning may have something to do with it . . .

The Carpet People

Available as an eBook and an eAudiobook

In the beginning, there was nothing but endless flatness. Then came the Carpet . . . 
That’s the old story everyone knows and loves. But now the Carpet is home to many different tribes and peoples and there’s a new story in the making. The story of Fray, sweeping a trail of destruction across the Carpet. The story of power-hungry mouls – and of two Munrung brothers, who set out on an amazing adventure. 
It’s a story that will come to a terrible end – if someone doesn’t do something about it. If everyone doesn’t do something about it . . . 

Dragons at Crumbling Castle

Available as an eBook

Dragons have invaded Crumbling Castle, and all of King Arthur’s knights are either on holiday or visiting their grannies. It’s a disaster! Luckily, there’s a spare suit of armour and a very small boy called Ralph who’s willing to fill it. Together with Fortnight the Friday knight and Fossfiddle the wizard, Ralph sets out to defeat the fearsome fire-breathers.  
But there’s a teeny weeny surprise in store . . . 

He’d heard that writers spent all day in their dressing gowns drinking champagne. This is, of course, absolutely true.

Terry Pratchett, Snuff

Bumps and Babies

To help support mums-to-be, expectant parents and grandparents we have put together a list of helpful and informative titles to help navigate you through the exhilarating, overwhelming and daunting journey of birth and beyond.  

The 16 titles on offer cover a variety of relevant topics from the traditional week-by-week guides to self-care, diet, health and a good dose of humour! These UK suitable titles are available on BorrowBox now to download for free.  

Hampshire Libraries supports families with babies and young children via a number of channels. Weekly Rhymetime and Baby Bounce sessions, that are currently taking place online during this time, give new parents the opportunity to bond with their young babies through song and rhyme.  

How to Grow a Baby and Push It out

How to Grow a Baby and Push It out

Everything you wanted to know but were too embarrassed to ask – a guide to pregnancy and birth straight from the midwife’s mouth. From how to prevent tearing during birth to what you really need in your labour bag, Clemmie reveals everything pregnant women and new mums need to know with a good dose of humour and wit.

Available as an eBook and an eAudiobook

Your Baby, Your Birth: Hypnobirthing Skills for Every Birth

Your Baby, Your Birth is a truly modern hypnobirthing book for ALL births. In-demand hypnobirthing coach Hollie de Cruz provides you with the skills and tools to make any birth feel safe, calm, connected and empowering. Drawing on her experience working with new mums, including Fearne Cotton and Giovanna Fletcher, Hollie de Cruz helps you prepare for a positive (not ‘perfect’) birth experience and approach motherhood with confidence in yourself and your instincts. Your Baby, Your Birth will teach you: – That birth is safe – listen to your body, embrace the changes, prepare your mind and relax during pregnancy – Exercises and breathing techniques for labour and birth for you and your birth partner, along with guided meditations to keep you calm and engaged – How to trust your instincts, understand your body and baby, and make informed decisions throughout your pregnancy and beyond

Available as an eBook and an eAudiobook

Give Birth Like a Feminist

Finally blasting the feminist spotlight into the labour ward, Milli Hill encourages women everywhere to stand and deliver, not lie back and think of England. As women consider anew their personal autonomy through the lens of #metoo, Give Birth Like a Feminist insists that birth is no longer left off the list in discussions about female power, control and agency. Both a thought-provoking guide for pregnant women, and a call to arms, this is a galvanising book that explains why women are the key decision makers in childbirth, why they need to know their rights and take an active role in their choices, and why they must find their voice and have their say in the birth room just as they have already done in the board room and the bedroom. Milli Hill lays bare the modern experience of pregnancy and birth in the developed world through research, personal testament and the accounts of hundreds of mothers. She illustrates how medicalisation and systems laid down by a patriarchal society have developed to disempower, even dehumanise, women at the gateway to motherhood. She then prepares the current generation of women for what to expect, setting out their often overlooked options and rights. This book answers the questions: Why should women, their families and healthcare professionals care about women having a positive birth experience? And why should women expect or demand more from their birth? For too long, women have been told that a healthy baby is ‘all that matters’. Give Birth Like a Feminist dares to say: women matter too.

Available as an eBook and an eAudiobook

The Unmumsy Mum A-Z

With entries including D is for Desperation, F is for Fish Fingers, S is for Supermum and V is for Vagina, it’s safe to say this is not your average A-Z. This book won’t tell you what sort of parent you should (or shouldn’t) be; instead, it offers a refreshingly honest account of what being a mum to three young children is really like and the surprising lessons that have been learned along the way. If you feel as though you’re not ‘measuring up’ or are struggling to #cherisheverymoment, Sarah’s tales from the thick of it will reassure and resonate with you. Above all, her commitment to telling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth will make you laugh out loud and remind you that you are, in fact, doing a great job.

Available as an eBook and an eAudiobook

The Little Book of Self-Care for New Mums

Read this book for an instant pick-me-up. Whether this is your first or fifth baby, The Little Book of Self-Care for New Mums is your handy survival guide to managing the emotional and physical rollercoaster of becoming a new mum. Bringing together decades of experience from a midwife and a doula, you’ll find invaluable tips and tricks to boost confidence and calm frazzled nerves – plus answers to all those questions you may be too embarrassed to ask. From creating cooling breast pads with chamomile tea and quick stretches to relieve aching muscles, through to easy recipes to nourish your postnatal body and 5-minute fixes to restore your sense of humour, this is the book you can turn to when the overwhelm sets in. Beautifully illustrated in full-colour, it covers everything you need to know about the postnatal period to feel supported, empowered and understood.

Available as an eBook

Your No Guilt Pregnancy Plan

Providing you with everything you’ve ever wanted to know about pregnancy, this is the definitive guide from conception to the first few weeks’ at home with your newborn. Recommendation: This is such an important book. I am going to be prescribing it on the NHS to every pregnant woman I meet.

Available as an eBook and an eAudiobook

Healthy, Happy Pregnancy Cookbook

Now, certified nutritionists and registered dieticians Stephanie Clarke and Willow Jarosh are here to tell them what they should! Featuring recipes for wholesome, unprocessed meals and snacks, accompanied by nutritional breakdowns and tips for the best ways to alleviate pesky pregnancy symptoms, Healthy, Happy Pregnancy Cookbook is the go-to guide for new moms throughout pregnancy and after. Healthy, Happy Pregnancy Cookbook is the perfect guide for pregnant women. Full of humor, heart, and wisdom, it promotes clean eating and the idea that using food as medicine is the best remedy for dealing with the symptoms that occur most during pregnancy—such as swollen ankles, bloating, and more. Leg cramps? Sit back with an Orange Carrot Cream Smoothie. Constipated? Try a Sweet & Salty Popcorn Trail Mix. Exhausted? Put your partner to work on a 3-Minute Salsa and Cheddar Microwave Egg Sandwich. There are also recipes for nausea, water retention, and heartburn, as well as nibbles sure to satisfy even the most bizarre cravings, prep ahead recipes for after the baby arrives and time is precious, and power meals made for moms who are breastfeeding. Healthy, Happy Pregnancy Cookbook will help new parents make smart and satisfying food choices whether dining in or out, before and after the kiddo arrives. The perfect gift for any new parent, it is sure to help make pregnancy healthier, happier, and even more delicious.

Available as an eBook

Mindful Hypnobirthing

Many women are fearful of birth, having been influenced by TV shows and films presenting labour as painful and alarming. However, birth does not have to be this way. The Mindful Hypnobirthing Method will show you how to reduce pain, feel calm and enjoy the most extraordinary experience of your life. This new book takes a refreshingly positive approach to birth, helping mums-to-be look forward to the experience with excitement rather than apprehension. Written by a clinical hypnotherapist and doula, The Mindful Hypnobirthing Method provides practical and reassuring mindfulness techniques to practise throughout pregnancy and labour to ensure you remain relaxed, confident, focussed and in control. There are also downloadable hypnosis and relaxation tracks for you to use and enjoy. With advice from nurses and midwives as well as hypnotherapists and psychologists, this book will answer all your questions, explain your options and teach you to trust your body so you can have the birth that you want.

Available as an eBook and an eAudiobook

Pilates for Pregnancy

Will give focus not just to first time pregnancies but also second pregnancies and how to survive the toddler implications on your pregnancy posture/energy levels Safe and effective Pilates exercises and bite-sized advice throughout about cardio exercise from pregnancy exercise specialist Advice from a perinatal (weeks before and weeks after birth) mental health-specialist midwife throughout on staying healthy and positive during your pregnancy The pregnancy market is huge. Aimed at pregnant women, but not just first timers. Particularly useful for mums of one (or two) who want hints and advice on how to prioritise their own posture and strength while their focus is on their little one.

Available as an eBook

Postnatal Pilates: A Recovery and Strength Guide for Life

Many mothers are desperate to get back into exercise but don’t know how. Pilates provides the perfect body-conditioning programme for birth and beyond. Anya Hayes has a large following on social media and many influencer contacts who are happy to promote the book and its message. Provides safe and effective Pilates exercises and advice throughout about getting into cardio exercise. Contains advice from perinatal/postnatal mental health specialists and experts throughout on staying healthy and positive in motherhood. This is a straight-talking, woman-to-woman postnatal recovery guide with a difference. These tailored Pilates exercises are safe and effective to build strong foundations, whatever your exercise goals. Clear step-by-step exercises are suitable for the fourth trimester, caesarean recovery and year one and beyond. Take control of your postnatal recovery and feel empowered with this toolkit of resources.

Available as an eBook

Eating for Two

Every mum-to-be wants to know that she’s eating the right things for herself and her baby. Nutrition is vital during pregnancy, and there’s a huge amount of conflicting advice out there. For the first time, child nutrition expert Annabel Karmel brings her food knowledge and experience to expectant mothers, guiding you through each stage of your pregnancy and offering tips and advice on what to eat and avoid. From the best foods to eat to promote conception, through ideas for avoiding morning sickness in the first trimester, to the best nutrition to combat sleeplessness, anaemia and heartburn later on, Annabel leads you through your pregnancy and beyond, even suggesting meals to make and freeze ready for when you have your new baby! With Annabel’s advice and over 90 fabulous recipes, you can be confident that you are eating the best possible diet for you and your developing baby.

Available as an eBook

Winging It!

Joining the parenting club in our thirties and beyond means that we are spinning an extraordinary amount of plates, often including a career at its peak. Most of us co-parent or fly solo in the true sense of the word, relying solely on our partners and/or friends when more often than not, extended family are too far away to help on a regular basis. Our parents could look to their parents for the usual guidance and extra support, but our situation is new, modern and unique. We are winging it! This book isn’t a guide or a parenting manual – it’s more of a support group for parents who are having their children in their thirties and forties to get together, to celebrate, share experiences, laugh and find joy in what is still the biggest life changing experience any of us will ever go through. It’s the book I looked for when I was pregnant, that spoke to me as a working parent and that I couldn’t find so I’ve had a go at writing one myself.

Available as an eBook and eAudiobook

Your Pregnancy Week by Week: Practical and Reassuring Advice from Conception to Birth

The wonderful news of a new addition to the family will leave you and your loved ones eager to prepare for their arrival. However, it is you, with the support of your partner, who will experience your child’s first nine months of development during pregnancy. Your Pregnancy Week by Week tells you everything you need to know about your pregnancy. On a week-by-week basis, you can learn how your baby is developing, how and why your body is changing and what you can do to ensure a smooth and comfortable pregnancy, every step of the way. With clear, authoritative advice that demystifies complex medical jargon, this indispensable guide takes you through each stage of pregnancy, addressing common concerns and questions to ensure a healthy start for your baby.

Available as an eBook

Your Baby Week by Week

Finding out what to expect during each week of pregnancy is easy; the shops are heaving with informative guides. Yet when the baby finally arrives and you are left to face the weeks of unpredictability and worry that a newborn baby brings, there are no week-by-week baby manuals to offer the advice, information and reassurance you need. Your Baby Week By Week is the guide you’ve been crying out for. Each chapter covers just one week of a baby’s development, and, ideal for tired and anxious parents, the week is divided into sections so that you can quickly and easily skim the chapter and find the information you’re looking for. It covers the basics – sleep, feeding, crying, washing, play and development – as well as being packed full of vital information and handy tips for checking a baby’s progress, including: – which vaccinations he needs and when – how much milk/feeds he needs – planning ahead – specific problems you may encounter, such as colic, and how to deal with them Clearly laid out and written by two experienced mothers – one a paediatrician, the other the Daily Mirror’s health editor, this is a reassuring and practical guide to help you through the crucial first six months of parenthood.

Available as an eBook and an eAudiobook

Best Baby Names 2020

Deciding on a name is one of the most exciting decisions you’ll make ahead of your new arrival but with so much choice it can be daunting to know where to start. Best Baby Names 2020 is full of inspirational names for your new baby. Whether you want a classic or a modern name or you don’t know either way this book will give you an A-Z of 9,000 possibilities. With advice and tips on how to choose the best name for your baby, how to approach relatives and all their opinions and the latest trends, you can find the ideal name and feel confident in your choice.

Available as an eBook

Young Gums: Baby Food with Attitude

A breath of fresh air for new parents’ – Skye Gyngell Award-winning food blogger Beth Bentley makes weaning fun and simple with a combination of baby-led and spoon-fed nutritious, wholesome recipes that are packed full of flavour. Say goodbye to fruit-sweetened, unidentifiable purees and instead make real, delicious food that the whole family can enjoy. Focusing on just a few great ingredients, clever flavour combinations and easy cooking methods, this is food that can be scaled up easily so that the family is able to enjoy the one meal – together; a practice that will help your baby develop good eating and social habits. And even better, the majority can be made using just one hand and just one pan! Including recipes such as Rainbow Ragu, Sweet Potato Cookies, Baby Burrito Bowls and No-roast Chicken Pot Roast, this step-by-step guide will take you from the daunting first stages of weaning right up to one year, with confidence and excitement. Including over 60 meals for both baby and mum, here are healthy, flavoursome recipes for a happy baby.

Available as an eBook

Most libraries have a ‘Parent’ collection covering a huge variety of parent related topics from weaning, sleep deprivation and potty training to toddler tantrums and fussy eaters amongst many other issues. 

When a Book Might Help is a selected list of children’s titles covering everyday challenges and triumphs, as well as more difficult situations. Sharing stories can help put a child’s mind at ease and make transitions and new experiences easy to cope with. 

Kate Atkinson

Kate Atkinson is an award winning author of 10 best selling novels.  She has won the Costa Prize for Novel of the year 3 times for Behind the Scenes at the Museum (1995), Life after Life (2013) and A God in Ruins (2015).  She no longer allows her books to be put forward for prizes. She states that “the whole thing is slightly distasteful… I’d rather remove myself from the whole process than find myself annoyed for not being on a list.” (Kate Atkinson speaking in the I newspaper 2019) 

She was born in York and has a Masters degree from Dundee University. In 2011 she was appointed an MBE for services to literature. 
Big Sky started life as a screenplay about a female detective and was written for Victoria Wood. Atkinson put the script aside after Wood’s death in 2016. She eventually decided that it would work for her popular character Jackson Brodie.   

Big Sky is the fifth in Brodie series.  The others are Case Histories (2004), One Good Turn (2006), When Will There Be Good News (2008) and Started Early, Took My Dog (2010) She says that she has an “imaginary sense of smell” which helps with her writing as the past has a different smell to the present. 

Atkinson is also a playwright.  Her plays Nice (1996) and Abandonment (2000) were both written for the Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh. 

In the end, it is my belief, words are the only things
that can construct a world that makes sense.

Kate Atkinson, Behind the Scenes at the Museum

Behind The Scenes At The Museum

Available as an eBook and as an eAudiobook

Ruby Lennox was conceived grudgingly by Bunty and born while her father, George, was in the Dog and Hare in Doncaster telling a woman in an emerald dress and a D-cup that he wasn’t married. Bunty had never wanted to marry George, but here she was, stuck in a flat above the pet shop in an ancient street beneath York Minster, with sensible and sardonic Patrica aged five, greedy cross-patch Gillian who refused to be ignored, and Ruby…Ruby tells the story of The Family, from the day at the end of the nineteenth century when a travelling French photographer catches frail beautiful Alice and her children, like flowers in amber, to the startling, witty, and memorable events of Ruby’s own life.

Human Croquet

Available as an eBook

Written by the Whitbread prizewinner Kate Atkinson, Human Croquet is an exhilarating and witty novel which provides an audacious blend of history, Shakespeare, and a hilariously dysfunctional family of eccentrics.

Emotionally Weird

Available as an eBook

Third novel by the bestselling author of When Will There Be Good News? – the ultimate (hilarious) 1970s campus novel.On a peat and heather island off the west coast of Scotland, Effie and her mother Nora take refuge in the large mouldering house of their ancestors and tell each other stories.Nora, at first, recounts nothing that Effie really wants to hear, like who her father was – variously Jimmy, Jack, or Ernie.Effie tells of her life at college in Dundee, the land of cakes and William Wallace, where she lives in a lethargic relationship with Bob, a student who never goes to lectures, seldom gets out of bed, and to whom the Klingons are as real as the French and the Germans (more real than the Luxemburgers).But strange things are happening. Why is Effie being followed? Is someone killing the old people? And where is the mysterious yellow dog?

Not the end of the world

Available as an eBook

Playful and profound, this collection of stories explores the world we think we know while offering a vision of another world which lurks beneath the surface of our consciousness, a world where the myths we have banished from our lives are startingly present & where imagination has the power to transform reality.

The Flea Palace 

Available as an eAudiobook

Full of suspense and heartbreak, ‘Case Histories’ is a feat of bravura storytelling that conveys the mysteries of life, its inanities and its hilarities. Jackson is 45 but feels much older. Surrounded by death, intrigue and misfortune, his own life is brought sharply into focus.

One Good Turn

Available as an eBook and as an eAudiobook

It is summer, it is the Edinburgh Festival. People queuing for a lunchtime show witness a road-rage incident – a near-homicidal attack which changes the lives of everyone involved. Jackson Brodie, ex-army, ex-police, ex-private detective, is also an innocent bystander – until he becomes a murder suspect. As the body count mounts, each member of the teeming Dickensian cast’s story contains a kernel of the next, like a set of nesting Russian dolls. They are all looking for love or money or redemption or escape: but what each actually discovers is their own true self.

When will there be good news?

Available as an eBook and as an eAudiobook

In a quiet corner of rural Devon, a six-year-old girl witnesses an appalling crime. 30 years later the man convicted of the crime is released from prison.In Edinburgh, 16-year-old Reggie, wise beyond her years, works as a nanny for a GP. But her employer has disappeared with her baby and Reggie seems to be the only person who is worried. Across town, Detective Chief Inspector Louise Monroe is also looking for a missing person, unaware that hurtling towards her is a man from her past – former detective Jackson Brodie – himself on a journey that is about to be fatally interrupted.

Started early, took my dog

Available as an eBook and as an eAudiobook

A day like any other for security chief Tracy Waterhouse, until she makes a purchase she hadn’t bargained for. One moment of madness is all it takes for Tracy’s humdrum world to be turned upside down, the tedium of everyday life replaced by fear and danger at every turn. Witnesses to Tracy’s Faustian exchange in the Merrion Centre in Leeds are Tilly, an elderly actress teetering on the brink of her own disaster, and Jackson Brodie who has returned to his home county in search of someone else’s roots. All three characters learn that the past is never history and that no good deed goes unpunished.

Life after Life

Available as an eAudiobook

Kate Atkinson’s ‘Life After Life’ explored the possibility of infinite chances, as Ursula Todd lived through the turbulent events of the last century again and again. In ‘A God in Ruins’, Atkinson turns her focus on Ursula’s beloved younger brother Teddy – would-be poet, RAF bomber pilot, husband and father – as he navigates the perils and progress of the 20th century. For all Teddy endures in battle, his greatest challenge will be to face living in a future he never expected to have.

A god in ruins

Available as an eBook and an eAuidobook

Written to be read over a long commute or a short journey, they are original and exclusively in digital form. This is Elif Shafak’s examination of national identity.”You know, I never understand. How come their children are so quiet and well disciplined?””Yeah,” said the distressed father, his voice suddenly softer. “Blond children never cry, do they?”As Elif Shafak stands in line at the airport, she overhears a Turkish father expressing to a friend his bewilderment at the cultural differences he’s experienced since immigrating to northern Europe. Is it true, she wonders, that the citizens of these countries are genuinely happier? Why do people leave their homes for other countries? And what lessons can we all learn, for the creation of truly harmonious societies, from the experiences of immigrants?In the light of the recent backlash against multiculturalism and the influx of millions of Muslims into Europe from the east, this powerful and personal essay uses the lived experience of immigrants to examine this most hotly debated subject.


Available as an eAudiobook

In 1940, 18-year-old Juliet Armstrong is reluctantly recruited into the world of espionage. Sent to an obscure department of MI5 tasked with monitoring the comings and goings of British Fascist sympathisers, she discovers the work to be by turns both tedious and terrifying. But after the war has ended, she presumes the events of those years have been relegated to the past forever.Ten years later, now a producer at the BBC, Juliet is unexpectedly confronted by figures from her past. A different war is being fought now, on a different battleground, but Juliet finds herself once more under threat. A bill of reckoning is due, and she finally begins to realise that there is no action without consequence.Transcription is a work of rare depth and texture, a bravura modern novel of extraordinary power, wit and empathy. It is a triumphant work of fiction from one of this country’s most exceptional writers.

Big Sky

Available as an eBook

The return of Jackson Brodie, ex-military, ex-Cambridge Constabulary, now private investigator, ‘a hero for men and women alike’. Jackson Brodie has relocated to a quiet seaside village in North Yorkshire, in the occasional company of his recalcitrant teenage son Nathan and ageing Labrador Dido, both at the discretion of his former partner Julia. It’s a picturesque setting, but there’s something darker lurking behind the scenes. Jackson’s current job, gathering proof of an unfaithful husband for his suspicious wife, seems straightforward, but a chance encounter with a desperate man on a crumbling cliff leads him into a sinister network – and back into the path of his old friend Reggie.

The world inside his head was so much better than the world outside his head.

Kate Atkinson, One Good Turn

Elif Shafak

Elif Shafak was born in France, to Turkish parents, though largely educated in Spain. Shafak holds a PhD in political science and she has taught at various universities in Turkey, the US and the UK, where she now lives.

As well as being a successful writer, she has also presented two TED Global talks which have amassed over 3 millions views.

Why Elif Shafak is our Author of the Month:

  • Elif Shafak is a powerful female writer, an activist for women’s rights, minority rights, and freedom of speech.
  • She writes and speaks about a range of issues including global and cultural politics, the future of Europe, Turkey and the Middle East, democracy, and pluralism.
  • Her books have been nominated for multiple international awards. Ten Minutes and 38 Seconds In This Strange World won Blackwell’s Book of the Year
  • in 2019. It has also been shortlisted for the 2020 RSL Ondaatje Prize. The Forty Rules of Love was chosen by the BBC as one of their 100 Novels which shaped the World.

This is a world of spectacles, About seeing and being seen.

Elif Shafak, The Gaze


The Gaze

Available as an eBook

The author explores body image and desirability. An overweight woman and her lover – a dwarf – go out in disguise to avoid being stared at. The book suggests the powerful effects the gaze of a passerby can have on a person.

Ten Minutes 38 Seconds In This Strange World

Available as an eBook and as an eAudiobook

Our brains stay active for ten minutes after our heart stops beating. For Leila, each minute brings with it a new memory: growing up with her father and his wives in a grand old house in a quiet Turkish town; watching the women gossip and wax their legs while the men went to mosque; sneaking cigarettes and Western magazines on her way home from school; running away to Istanbul to escape an unwelcome marriage; falling in love with a student who seeks shelter from a riot in the brothel where she works. Most importantly, each memory reminds Leila of the five friends she met along the way – friends who are now desperately trying to find her.

Three Daughter’s of Eve

Available as an eBook and as an eAudiobook

Peri, a wealthy Turkish housewife, is on her way to a dinner party at a seaside mansion in Istanbul when a beggar snatches her handbag. As she wrestles to get it back, a photograph falls to the ground – an old polaroid of three young women and their university professor. A relic from a past – and a love – Peri had tried desperately to forget.The photograph takes Peri back to Oxford University, as an 18-year-old sent abroad for the first time; to her dazzling, rebellious Professor and his life-changing course on God; to her home with her two best friends, Shirin and Mona, and their arguments about Islam and femininity; and finally, to the scandal that tore them all apart.

The Architect’s Apprentice

Available as an eBook and as an eAudiobook

When Jahan travels to 16th-century Istanbul as a stowaway, with the gift of a white elephabt for the Sultan, little does he anticipate the journey on which he is about to embark. Whispers in the palace gardens and secret journeys through Istanbul lead him to Mihrimah, the beautiful princess. Still under her spell, he is promoted from simple mahut to apprentice of the royal architect, Sinan – when his fortunes take a mysterious change.

The Flea Palace 

Available as an eBook

Bonbon Palace was once a stately apartment block in Istanbul. Now it is a sadly dilapidated home to ten wildly different individuals and their families. When the rubbish at Bonbon Palace is stolen, a mysterious sequence of events unfolds that result in a soul-searching quest for truth.

The Bastard of Istanbul

Available as an eBook and as an eAudiobook

One rainy afternoon in Istanbul, a woman walks into a doctor’s surgery. ‘I need to have an abortion’, she announces. She is nineteen years old and unmarried. What happens that afternoon will change her life.Twenty years later, Asya Kazanci lives with her extended family in Istanbul. Due to a mysterious family curse, all the Kaznci men die in their early forties, so it is a house of women, among them Asya’s beautiful, rebellious mother Zeliha, who runs a tattoo parlour; Banu, who has newly discovered herself as clairvoyant; and Feride, a hypochondriac obsessed with impending disaster. And when Asya’s Armenian-American cousin Armanoush comes to stay, long hidden family secrets connected with Turkey’s turbulent past begin to emerge.


Available as an eBook and as an eAudiobook

When Pembe leaves the Kurdish village of her birth, and her twin sister with it, it is for love. She follows her husband, Adem, to London with the hope of making a new life, but the family soon faces a stark choice: to stay loyal to the old traditions or try their best to fit in. When Adem abandons his family, it is Iskender, Pembe’s eldest son, who must step in and prevent shame from falling on the family name. And when Pembe begins a chaste affair with a man named Elias, Iskender will discover that you could love someone with all your heart and yet be ready to hurt them. Trapped by the mistakes of the past, the Toprak children find their lives shattered and transformed by a brutal act of murder.

The Forty Rules of Love

Available as an eBook and as an eAudiobook

Ella Rubinstein has a husband, three teenage children, and a pleasant home. Everything that should make her confident and fulfilled. Yet there is an emptiness at the heart of Ella’s life – an emptiness once filled by love.So when Ella reads a manuscript about the thirteenth-century Sufi poet Rumi and Shams of Tabriz, and his forty rules of life and love, she is shocked out of herself. Turning her back on her family she embarks on a journey to meet the mysterious author of this work.It is a quest infused with Sufi mysticism and verse, taking Ella and us into an exotic world where faith and love are heartbreakingly explored…


Black Milk

Available as an eBook

Postpartum depression affects millions of new mothers every year, and- like most of its victims- Elif Shafak never expected to be one of them. But after the birth of her first child in 2006, the internationally bestselling Turkish author remembers how “for the first time my adult life . . . words wouldn’t speak to me”. As her despair finally eased, Shafak sought to resuscitate her writing life by chronicling her own experiences.In her intimate memoir, she reveals how she struggled to overcome her depression and how literature provided the salvation she so desperately needed.

The Happiness of Blond People

Available as an eBook

Written to be read over a long commute or a short journey, they are original and exclusively in digital form. This is Elif Shafak’s examination of national identity.”You know, I never understand. How come their children are so quiet and well disciplined?””Yeah,” said the distressed father, his voice suddenly softer. “Blond children never cry, do they?”As Elif Shafak stands in line at the airport, she overhears a Turkish father expressing to a friend his bewilderment at the cultural differences he’s experienced since immigrating to northern Europe. Is it true, she wonders, that the citizens of these countries are genuinely happier? Why do people leave their homes for other countries? And what lessons can we all learn, for the creation of truly harmonious societies, from the experiences of immigrants?In the light of the recent backlash against multiculturalism and the influx of millions of Muslims into Europe from the east, this powerful and personal essay uses the lived experience of immigrants to examine this most hotly debated subject.

1914-Goodbye to all that

Available as an eBook

In this collection of essays, ten leading writers from different countries, including Elif Shafak, consider the conflicts that have informed their own literary lives. 1914-Goodbye to All That borrows its title from Robert Graves’s “bitter leave-taking of England” in which he writes not only of the First World War but the questions it raised: how to live, how to live with each other, and how to write.Interpreting this title as broadly and ambiguously as Graves intended, these essays mark the War’s centenary by reinvigorating these questions.

Try not to resist the changes that come your way. Instead let life live through you. And do not worry that your life is turning upside down. How do you know that the side you are used to is better than the one to come?

Elif Shafak, The Forty Rules of Love

Ian Fleming

Ian Fleming was born in London in 1908. His early education was at Eton college after which he spent time in Europe studying languages. His first job was with Reuters news agency and he also spent a short time as a stock broker. At the beginning of the Second World War he was appointed assistant to the Director of Naval Intelligence where he was instrumental in many British and Allied espionage operations.

Fleming loved Jamaica and wrote his books there. He built a house ‘Goldeneye’ where he would write for 2 months every year.

Casino Royale was the first of his 14 Bond books and was published in 1953. The character name James Bond was an author of a reference book in his home library – Birds of the West Indies and he drew upon his experiences during WWII to write to the novel. It was an instant success and was followed by Live and Let Die and Moonraker.

Dr No Was published in 1958 and became the first 007 film in 1962. Fleming was heavily involved in the casting of the film. He was on the screen test panel who chose Sean Connery as the first Bond. He wanted his step-cousin Christopher Lee to play the role of Dr. No but Joseph Wiseman had already been cast.

He married Ann Rothermere in 1952, and shortly after their only son Caspar was born. His children’s novel Chitty Chitty Bang Bangwas written for Caspar and featured his love of cars. Fleming died on his son’s birthday, 12th August 1964 following a heart attack the day before.

Why Ian Fleming is our Author of the Month:

  • To tie in with the original April release of the new James Bond Film, now postponed. Can’t see the film? Read a Bond book instead!
  • Fleming’s aim was to write “the spy story to end all spy stories” – its phenomenal success in print and film probably exceeded even his expectations with over 100 million books sold worldwide
  • The books are a snapshot of their time with innovative use of brand-name products, fast cars and electronic gadgets
  • Pure escapism, taking the reader on a journey of adventure and espionage. The writing can be unsettling, yet unputdownable.

Because people are very careful with the secrets of their own business doesn’t mean that they’ll be careful with the secrets of yours.

Ian Fleming, Octopussy and the Living Daylights

Casino Royale

At the casino in Deauville Bond’s game is baccarat, for stakes that run into millions of francs. But away from the discreet salons, it’s 007 versus one of Russia’s most powerful and ruthless agents.

Image result for 9780099576884

Diamonds are Forever

Meet Tiffany Case, a cold, gorgeous, devil-may-care blonde. She stands between James Bond and the leaders of a diamond-smuggling ring that stretches from Africa via London to the States. Bond uses her to infiltrate this gang, but once in America the hunter becomes the hunted. Bond is in real danger until help comes from an unlikely quarter.

Image result for 9780099577027

Octopussy and the Living Daylights

For James Bond, British secret agent 007, international espionage can be a dirty business. Tracking down a wayward major who has taken a deadly secret with him to the Caribbean, identifying a top Russian agent secretly bidding for a Fabergé egg in a Sotheby’s auction room, and more, it’s all in a day’s work for him.

Image result for 9780099576921

Dr No

M called this case a soft option. Bond can’t quite agree. The tropical island is luxurious, the seductive Honey Rider is beautiful and willing. But they are both part of the empire of Dr No. His obsession is power, and his gifts are pain-shaped.

Image result for 9780099576938


A friendly game of two-handed canasta turns out to be thoroughly crooked. And a beautiful girl ends up dead. In Bond’s first encounter with Auric Goldfinger – the world’s cleverest, cruellest criminal – useful lessons are learned.

Image result for 9780099576945

For your eyes only

The destruction of a Russian hideout at SHAPE headquarters near Paris; the planned assassination of a Cuban thug in America; the tracking of a heroin ring from Rome to Venice and beyond; for Bond it is just routine. For anyone else – certain death.

Image result for 9780099576860

Live and Let Die

Bond is off to Harlem, the kingdom of Mr Big, master of crime and voodoo baron. The trail of terror, treachery and torture leads from New York’s underworld to the shark infested island in the sun that Mr Big calls his own.

Image result for 9780099576877


The club where James Bond is asked to settle the dispute over ungentlemanly behaviour is embarrassed. The accused is the unimpeachable Sir Hugo Drax, head of the multi-million-pound Moonraker missile programme on which Britain’s future depends.

Image result for 9780099576891

From Russia with love

SMERSH is the Soviet organ of vengeance, of interrogation, torture and death. James Bond is dedicated to the destruction of its agents wherever he finds them. Then the cold eye of SMERSH focuses on Bond and far away in Moscow a trap is laid for him.

Image result for 9781447213758

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

Commander Caractacus, a struggling inventor, makes enough money from his whistling sweets to buy a car. He chooses Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, and he and his family set off in it on a series of adventures. The book inspired the famous film.

Don’t lose faith in your stars.

Ian Fleming, Live and Let Die

Ken Follett

©Olivier Favre

Ken Follett is a thriller and historical fiction writer of international standing. Born in Wales in 1949, he was raised in a strict religious family who were part of the Plymouth Brethren. He studied Philosophy at University College London. and developed an interest in politics joining the student protest movement of the late sixties. After university, he became a journalist and then moved into publishing. He started writing as a hobby, eventually gaining international recognition with the publication of his 11th book, Eye of the Needle, and went on to become a bestselling author. He also continued his involvement in politics and met his second wife, Barbara Broer, who became an MP (Barbara Follett) for Stevenage 1997–2010 and a Cabinet minister. The combination of his political views and luxury lifestyle has earned him the label ‘champagne socialist’ which he engagingly endorses

I always had a taste for the good life. It must be a rebellion against the Puritanism of my parents in some way because all my adult life I have loved good food and wine, the cashmere sweaters, the great hotels and flying first class. Nothing about it has disappointed

Ken Follett

Why Ken Follett is our Author of the Month

  • If you like a page-turner, Follett is one of the best
  • There’s something for everyone from adventure and espionage to his epic historical fiction series · Winning combination of meticulously researched period detail and nail-biter plots
  • He is a featured author on the BBC promotion Novels that Changed Our World and their Adventure theme for March with his book, Eye of the Needle
  • He has credited libraries with helping him become a writer – “I didn’t have many books of my own and I’ve always been grateful for the public library. Without free books I would not have become a voracious reader, and if you are not a reader you are not a writer.
  • He was awarded a CBE in 2018 for services to literature – “I am very pleased and proud to receive this honour for doing something I love – making books and stories as entertaining and accessible as possible,” Ken said. “Reading is a hugely important part of my life and I am glad to have helped others to enjoy it too.

The Kingsbridge Series

Epic spanning four generations opening in 12th century England with the building of a cathedral which forms the spine of the story and the focus for the lives of all the characters. Follett’s interest in cathedrals was the inspiration behind the series and his research included time spent at Winchester Cathedral. These are big books but you won’t want them to end!

The pillars of the Earth

This is a timeless story of passion and idealism, about a group of men and women whose destinies are fatefully linked with the building of a cathedral. It is an epic drama from the author of ‘The Eye of the Needle’ and ‘On Wings of Eagles’.

World without end

On the day after Halloween, in the year 1327, four children slip away from the cathedral city of Kingsbridge. They are a thief, a bully, a boy genius and a girl who wants to be a doctor. In the forest they see two men killed. As adults, their lives will be braided together by ambition, love, greed and revenge.

A column of fire

Young Ned Willard is coming home to Kingsbridge at Christmas as this story opens. The year 1558 will turn his life upside-down and change Europe forever. The ancient stones of Kingsbridge Cathedral look down on a city torn by religious hatred. High principles clash bloodily with friendship, loyalty and love. Ned finds himself on the opposite side from the girl he longs to marry, Margery Fitzgerald. When Elizabeth Tudor becomes queen, all of Europe turns against England. The shrewd, determined young monarch sets up the country’s first secret service, to give her early warning of assassination plots, rebellions and invasion plans. Waiting in Paris is the alluring, headstrong Mary Queen of Scots, part of a brutally ambitious French family. Proclaimed the rightful ruler of England, she has her own supporters scheming to get rid of Elizabeth.

When you’ve lost everything, you’ve got nothing to lose.

Ken Follett, A world Without End

Century Trilogy

Follows five families through the world-shaking dramas of the 20th Century. More big books that “will suck you in, consume you for days or weeks, depending upon how quick a reader you are, then let you out the other side both entertained and educated.” (USA Today)

Fall of giants

In a plot of unfolding drama and intriguing complexity, ‘Fall of Giants’ moves seamlessly from Washington to St Petersburg, from the dirt and danger of a coal mine to the glittering chandeliers of a palace, from the corridors of power to the bedrooms of the mighty.

Winter of the world

Berlin in 1933 is in upheaval. Eleven-year-old Carla von Ulrich struggles to understand the tensions disrupting her family as Hitler strengthens his grip on Germany. Into this turmoil steps her mother’s formidable friend and former British MP, Ethel Leckwith, and her student son, Lloyd, who soon learns for himself the brutal reality of Nazism.

Edge of eternity

When Rebecca Hoffmann, a teacher in East Germany, finds herself pursued by the secret police, she discovers that she has been living a lie. Her younger brother, Walli, longs to escape across the Berlin Wall to Britain to become part of the burgeoning music scene. In the United States, George Jakes, a bright young lawyer in the Kennedy administration, is a fierce supporter of the Civil Rights movement – as is the woman he is in love with, Verena, who works for Martin Luther King, Jr. Boarding a Greyhound bus in Washington to protest against segregation, they begin a fateful journey together. Russian activist, Tania Dvorkin, narrowly evades capture for producing an illegal news sheet. Her actions are made all the more perilous as her brother, Dimka, is a rising star in the heart of the Communist Party in the Kremlin.

And here’s my advice to you. If you get the chance of the mad kind of love, grab it with both hands, and to hell with the consequences.

Ken Follett, Winter of the World


A cannister containing a deadly virus goes missing from a lab during a blizzard. Edge-of-seat thriller with a nail-biter ending.


“Britain sent fifty women agents into France and Occupied Europe during the Second World War. They were very brave – many were captured and tortured. I wanted to write about women agents, and the role they played. In Jackdaws, their job is to destroy a big telephone exchange that is vital to the German’s defences. It can’t be bombed, as it is in a bomb-proof bunker, and the French Resistance can’t get near it, as it is too well guarded. So a team of women, disguised as cleaners, is sent to destroy the exchange…” (Ken Follett)

The Third Twin

Steve and Dan appear to be identical twins, but were born on different days, to different mothers. One is a law student, the other a convicted murderer.

A high-tech read about genetic engineering, with emotional depth” (Daily Telegraph)

A provocative, well-paced, and sensational biotech thriller” (Variety)

The Man from St Petersburg

1914. Tensions are rising as Europe finds itself caught in a web of alliances and dangerous warmongering. To help tip the balance in their favour Britain aims to draw Russia into an alliance with them instead of Germany.

Eerily plausible . . . one of Follett’s finest” (Time)

The Eye of the Needle

His breakthrough book that brought him international recognition winning the American Edgar Award for mystery writers and made into a successful film starring Donald Sutherland.

It is 1944 and weeks before D-Day. The Allies are disguising their invasion plans with a phoney armada of ships and planes. Their plan would be scuppered if an enemy agent found out… and then, Hitler’s prize agent, ‘The Needle’, does just that.

A tense, marvellously detailed suspense thriller based on a solid foundation of fact” (The Times)

Notre-Dame: A Short History of the Meaning of Cathedrals

“The wonderful cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris, one of the greatest achievements of European civilization, was on fire. The sight dazed and disturbed us profoundly. I was on the edge of tears. Something priceless was dying in front of our eyes. The feeling was bewildering, as if the earth was shaking.
My French publisher asked me if I would think about writing something new about my love of Notre-Dame, in light of the terrible event of 15 April. Profits from the book would go to the rebuilding fund, and so would my royalties.
‘Yes,’ I said. ‘I’ll start tomorrow.’

This short book is the result. Written from the heart, it describes the emotions that gripped him and goes on to tell the story of the cathedral from its construction to the role it has played across time and history.

I like to create imaginary characters and events around a real historical situation. I want readers to feel: OK, this probably didn’t happen, but it might have.

Ken Follett