Claire Tomalin In Conversation with Alan Rusbridger
Claire Tomalin, née Delavenay, was born in 1933 in London to an English mother, the composer Muriel Herbert (, and a French father. After a somewhat disorganised wartime childhood she studied at Cambridge, married the journalist Nicholas Tomalin, worked in publishing and journalism as literary editor of the New Statesman, then the Sunday Times, while bringing up their children. Nick was killed reporting the Yom Kippur war in 1973. In 1974 she published her first book The Life and Death of Mary Wollstonecraft, which won the Whitbread First Book Prize. Since then she has written Shelley and His World 1980; Katherine Mansfield: A Secret Life 1987; The Invisible Woman: the story of Nelly Ternan and Charles Dickens 1991 [NCR, Hawthornden, James Tait Black prizes, and a film with Ralph Fiennes, Felicity Jones, Joanna Scanlan, Tom Hollander]; Mrs Jordan’s Profession 1994; Jane Austen: A Life 1997; Samuel Pepys: the Unequalled Self 2002 [Whitbread biography and Book of the Year prizes, Pepys Society Prize, Rose Crawshay Prize]. Thomas Hardy: The Time-Torn Man appeared in 2006, after which she made a television film about Hardy with Melvyn Bragg, and published a selection of Hardy’s poems. Her Charles Dickens: A Life was published in 2011. A collection of her reviews, Several Strangers, appeared in 1999, and a memoir, A Life of My Own, in 2017.

Her books are translated into many languages. She has honorary doctorates from Cambridge, UEA, Birmingham, the Open University, Greenwich, Goldsmith, Roehampton, Portsmouth and York universities.

She has served on the Committee of the London Library and as a Trustee of the National Portrait Gallery and the Wordsworth Trust. She is a Vice-President of the Royal Literary Fund, of the Royal Society of Literature and of English PEN. She lives in London and is married to the playwright and novelist Michael Frayn.
Date: 31 January 2020, 17:45 (Friday, 2nd week, Hilary 2020)
Venue: Lady Margaret Hall, Norham Gardens OX2 6QA
Venue Details: Simpkins Lee Theatre
Speakers: Claire Tomalin, Alan Rusbridger (Lady Margaret Hall)
Booking required?: Required
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Audience: Public
Editor: Sadie Slater