Annal: 2012 Costa Book Award for Biography

Results of the Costa Book Award in the year 2012.

Book:Dotter of Her Father's Eyes

Dotter of Her Father's Eyes

Mary M. Talbot, Bryan Talbot

Part personal history, part biography, Dotter of Her Father’s Eyes contrasts two coming-of-age narratives: that of Lucia, the daughter of James Joyce, and that of author Mary Talbot, daughter of the eminent Joycean scholar James S. Atherton. Social expectations and gender politics, thwarted ambitions and personal tragedy are played out against two contrasting historical backgrounds, poignantly evoked by the atmospheric visual storytelling of award-winning graphic-novel pioneer Bryan Talbot. Produced through an intense collaboration seldom seen between writers and artists, Dotter of Her Father’s Eyes is smart, funny, and sad—an essential addition to the evolving genre of graphic memoir.

Book:The Crocodile by the Door

The Crocodile by the Door: The Story of a House, a Farm and a Family

Selina Guinness

The Crocodile by the Door by Selina Guinness is a remarkable, compelling and moving memoir of a farm, a family and a home.

When Selina Guinness and her partner Colin, both young academics, moved in with Selina’s uncle Charles, an elderly bachelor, they had no idea what the coming years held for them: a crash course in farming, tense discussions with helicopter-borne property developers, human tragedy, and the challenge of dragging a quasi-feudal estate at the edge of Dublin into the twenty-first century.

The Crocodile by the Door - a dazzling debut memoir that will appeal to fans of Edmund de Waal, William Fiennes and Richard Benson’s The Farm—tells this remarkable story.

Book:Patrick Leigh Fermor: An Adventure

Patrick Leigh Fermor: An Adventure

Artemis Cooper

Patrick Leigh Fermor (1915-2011) was a war hero whose exploits in Crete are legendary, and above all he is widely acclaimed as the greatest travel writer of our times, notably for his books about his walk across pre-war Europe, A Time of Gifts and Between the Woods and the Water; he was a self-educated polymath, a lover of Greece and the best company in the world. Artemis Cooper has drawn on years of interviews and conversations with Paddy and his cloest friends as well as having complete access to his archives. Her beautifully crafted biography portrays a man of extraordinary gifts—no one wore their learning so playfully, nor inspired such passionate friendship.

Book:Serving Victoria: Life in the Royal Household

Serving Victoria: Life in the Royal Household

Kate Hubbard

‘Your first duty is to God; your second to your Sovereign; your third to yourself’.

During the sixty-odd years of her reign Queen Victoria gathered around her a household dedicated to her service. For some, royal service was the defining experience of their lives, for others it came as an unwelcome duty, or a prelude to greater things. Serving Victoria follows the lives of six members of her household from the governess to the royal children, to her maid-of-honour, chaplain and personal physician.

Drawing on their letters and diaries—many hitherto unpublished—Serving Victoria offers a unique insight into the Victorian court, with all its frustrations and absurdities, as well as the Queen herself, sitting squarely at its centre. Seen through the eyes of her household as she traveled between Windsor, Osborne and Balmoral, and to the French and Belgian courts,…[more]

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