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Digital Subscriptions > Writing Magazine > July 2018 > The style & technique of PENELOPE FITZGERALD

The style & technique of PENELOPE FITZGERALD

Tony Rossiter examines a novelist who wrote with a delicate touch about the most serious things

Novelist, poet, essayist and biographer, she described herself as ‘an old writer who had never been a young one’. She began writing at the age of 58, and was sixty when her first book (a biography of the pre- Raphaelite artist Burne-Jones) was published. Penelope Fitzgerald is best known for her nine novels, three of which were shortlisted for the Booker prize. They are short, subtle novels – typically less than 200 pages.

The daughter of literary parents, Fitzgerald left Somerville College, Oxford with a First Class degree in 1938. She worked for the BBC during the war and in 1942 married Desmond Fitzgerald, whom she had met at Oxford. In the early 1950s she and her husband co-edited a magazine called World Review, but after her husband’s legal career came to an ignominious end they lived for eleven years in a council flat. She worked in a bookshop in Southwold, Suffolk and in the 1960s taught at a stage school and an independent girls’ school in Kensington; she continued to teach until she was seventy.

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About Writing Magazine

How can you get your writing to the readers it deserves? In this month's issue of Writing Magazine we look at how to generate new freelance opportunities and how and why the flourishing independent press scene may be your best bet. First though, if you're a new writer you need to read our guide to finding and fixing those rookie mistakes in How Not to Be a Bad Writer. This month's star interview is the man with the golden pen Anthony Horowitz, talking about bringing back Bond and maintaining his impressive hit rate. Keep up to date with all the latest competitions and opportunities to get into print with Writers' News – there's £37,240 in writing prizes to be won!