Instead of a Book | Granta

  • Published: 04/10/2012
  • ISBN: 9781847084149
  • 129x20mm
  • 352 pages

Instead of a Book

Diana Athill

Written in an even more vivid and direct style than her celebrated memoirs, Diana Athill’s letters to the American poet Edward Field reveal a sharply intelligent woman with a brilliant sense of humour, a keen eye for the absurd, a fierce loyalty and a passionate zest for life.

This intimate correspondence spanning thirty years covers her final years as an editor at Andre Deutsch, her retirement and immersion in her own writing, her growing fame and encroaching old age, and gives a fascinating insight into a life fully lived.

Edited, selected and introduced by Diana Athill, and annotated with her own delightful notes, this funny, revealing and immensely readable collection will bring enormous pleasure to her many thousands of readers.

Fascinating and surprising ... Athill is a wonderful letter writer - always aware of the need to entertain and beguile the reader ... Every page of this book shows that Athill's eye is as beady as ever

Daisy Goodwin, Sunday Times

Encounter again, the sheer joy of her brisk, wry and hugely energetic prose

Christina Patterson, Independent

These are vivid reports on life in late 20th-century Britain as experienced by a writer, editor, daughter, partner and pensioner with an extraordinarily "beady eye" on human relations and a phenomenal capacity for making the most of everything that comes her way ... She owes us nothing. She has given a very great deal

Alexandra Harris, Guardian

The Author

Diana Athill was born in 1917. She helped André Deutsch establish the publishing company that bore his name and worked as an editor for Deutsch for four decades. Athill’s distinguished career as an editor is the subject of her acclaimed memoir Stet. She is the author of seven further volumes of memoirs, Instead of a Letter, After a Funeral, Yesterday Morning, Make Believe, Somewhere Towards the End, Alive, Alive Oh!, A Florence Diary, and a collection of letters, Instead of a Book, all published by Granta. Her only novel, Don’t Look At Me Like That, was first published in 1967. In January 2009, she won the Costa Biography Award for Somewhere Towards the End, and was presented with an OBE. She died in January 2019.

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From the Same Author

Diana Athill on Granta.com

Fiction | Granta Books

Don’t Look at Me Like That

Diana Athill

‘When I was at school I used to think that everyone disliked me, and it wasn’t far from true.’

Essays & Memoir | Granta 69

Editing Vidia

Diana Athill

‘I thought so highly of Vidia’s writing and felt his presence on our list to be so important that I simply could not allow myself not to like him.’

Essays & Memoir | Granta 69

Lessons

Diana Athill

‘My two valuable lessons are: avoid romanticism and abhor possessiveness.’