Biographies & Autobiographies

Cultural & Literary

  • LITV
    • £4.99
    • RRP £14.99
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    With a film adaptation starring Academy Award winner Maggie Smith and Alex Jennings proving a huge success, now is as good a time as any to reacquaint yourself with Alan Bennett's hilarious memoir The Lady in the Van.

    Instructed by the council that she must move on from the streets of Camden, an eccentric old lady, Miss Mary Shepherd, is invited to move her van into the garden of kind homeowner Alan Bennett - and there her and her van stay for the next 15 years.

    A fascinating story that was adapted into an award-winning stage show, The Lady in the Van is a funny, poignant and life-affirming book filled with beautiful illustrations from the talented David Gentleman, the new film's screenplay and stunning on-set photographs.
  • SJTD 12 years +
    Karen Blumenthal
    12 years +
    • £3.99
    • RRP £12.99
    • Save £9.00
    An inventor. An icon. A dropout. A genius. Many words have been used to describe the late Apple founder Steve Jobs, and this fascinating biography by Karen Blumenthal - written especially to appeal to a younger generation - tracks the revolutionary's unlikely path from being unwanted at birth to becoming the 'rock star of technology'.

    Adopted by Clara and Paul Jobs in San Francisco in 1955, Steve Jobs was always made to feel special at home. At school, however, he was considered a nuisance and a troublemaker - a boy who pushed the boundaries. Lasting only one semester at college, Jobs started Apple Computers in his parents' garage, and the rest is history...

    Known for his perfectionism, taste and keen eye for style, Steve Jobs revolutionised how we consume music, film and telecommunication industries. This fascinating Steve Jobs biography - The Man Who Thought Different - will provide readers with unrivalled insight to the man at the forefront of 21st century technology. This is his story.
  • KGJN
    • £6.99
    • RRP £25.00
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    The 800th anniversary of Magna Carta made headlines across the world earlier this year and this biography provides a compelling portrait of King John, the supposed tyrant leader who issued - and consequently rejected - the famous document that bound him and his successors to better behaviour.

    Extensively researched and written by Marc Morris, author of A Great and Terrible King and The Norman Conquest, the book examines whether King John was the familiar figure we all know from Robin Hood - a monarch who was greedy, cowardly, despicable and cruel.

    Throughout the book, the historian draws on contemporary chronicles and the king's own letters to show what John was really like. He argues he was dynamic, inventive and relentless, but also a very flawed individual whose rise to power involved treachery, rebellion and murder. The book also looks at the invasions by Wales, Scotland and Ireland that occurred under John's reign and the civil war and foreign invasion that brought upon his downfall.
  • TMGL
    Anna Temkin
    (1)
    • £7.99
    • RRP £30.00
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    Focusing on the lives of those who have shaped the world we live in today, this huge book features over 120 obituaries curated by The Times.

    From Lord Kitchener and Marie Curie to Sir Terry Pratchett, Great Lives is a hugely fascinating read that gives readers an instant picture of a life for over 150 years. Updated and reproduced in their entirety, the book provides a wealth of fascinating information and opinion on the most influential characters of the twentieth and early twenty-first century.

    Be they politicians, sportspeople, musicians, writers, artists, pop stars or military personnel, this insightful and endlessly engaging read is a must for anyone with an interest in the history and people of the twentieth century.
  • AITH
    Majella O'Donnell
    • £3.99
    • RRP £12.99
    • Save £9.00
    Majella O'Donnell, wife of Irish singer Daniel O'Donnell, writes her inspirational memoir - culminating in her successful battle with breast cancer.

    Going all the way back to her childhood growing up in a small town in 1960s Ireland, this autobiography finds Majella talking about her early love of music and how dreams were shattered by a broken marriage and an uphill battle with depression.

    With her confidence and self-esteem very low, Majella reveals how she decided to take charge of her own life. This is when she met and fell in love with Daniel O'Donnell. After a decade or so of happily married life, Majella was diagnosed with breast cancer.

    The biggest challenge of her life, Majella discusses how with the love and support of her family, her husband and huge public support, she managed to beat the illness.
  • AMHFO
    Catherine Mayer
    • £16.00
    • RRP £20.00
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    He has lived his whole life in the public eye, yet he remains an enigma. He was born to be king, but he aims much higher. A landmark publication, Charles: The Heart of a King reveals Prince Charles in all his complexity: the passionate views that mean he will never be as remote and impartial as his mother; the compulsion to make a difference and the many and startling ways in which the heir to the throne of the United Kingdom and fifteen other realms has already made his mark. The book offers fresh and fascinating insights into the first marriage that did so much to define him and an assessment of his relationship with the woman he calls, with unintended accuracy, his 'dearest wife': Camilla. We see Charles as a father and a friend, a serious figure and a joker. Life at court turns out to be full of hidden dangers and unexpected comedy. Poignant, funny and often surprising, the first significant study of the Prince in over a decade reveals a man in sight of happiness yet still driven by anguish and a remarkable belief system, a charitable entrepreneur, activist, agitator and avatar of the Establishment who just as often tilts against it. Based on multiple interviews with his friends and courtiers, palace insiders and critics, and access to Charles himself during research lasting more than a year, this biography explores the Prince's philanthropy and his compulsive interventionism, his faith, his political leanings and the philosophy that means when he seeks harmony he sometimes creates controversy. Gripping, at times astonishing, often laugh-out-loud, this is a royal biography unlike any other.
  • HYLS
    Harry Leslie Smith
    (1)
    • £3.99
    • RRP £12.99
    • Save £9.00
    A breath of fresh air to the world of current affairs, Harry Leslie Smith introduces a new perspective on modern life through the eyes of a man who has seen it all in Harry's Last Stand.

    Claiming not to be a historian - but being living history himself - Harry brings a unique perspective on the issues that affect our everyday lives including NHS cutbacks, benefits policy, political corruption, food, poverty, education and much, much more...

    Following on from where his sensational Guardian article 'This year, I will wear a poppy for the last time' left off, the book delves into Harry's experience of seeing a great civilisation rising from the rubble, the fears of how easily this greatness can be eroded and what he thinks we can do as a nation to change that!
  • WNTT
    Kevin Bridges
    • £8.99
    • RRP £20.00
    • Save £11.01
    Rising to meteoric fame in next to no time, Kevin Bridges is now one of the nation's best-loved comics. But life wasn't always record-breaking shows at sell-out arenas for Kevin. In his new book, We Need to Talk About... Kevin Bridges, fans of the Glaswegian-born comic can discover the hilarious story of his life so far.

    Born in Clydebank, Kevin began life as a nervy, shy schoolboy. But as he approached his teens he found his true calling: being the class clown. Aged just 17, Kevin took to the stage for the first time and brought the house down. This guy was going somewhere; exactly where that somewhere was, who would have known? With plenty of hilarious stories to tell of his rise to fame, readers can discover the story of Britain's comic rising star - told with his trademark social commentary and sharp wit.

    With a BAFTA-nominated TV show and sold-out UK tour to his name already, at the tender age of just 27, Kevin Bridges is destined for stand-up super-stardom. Fans of Kevin Bridges will delight finding this memoir in their stocking this Christmas!
  • LAMA
    His Holiness The Dalai Lama
    • £3.00
    • RRP £12.99
    • Save £9.99
    Get a rare insight into the life of the Dalai Lama with this inspirational book. Through captivating anecdotes, The Wisdom of Compassion reveals how the Dalai Lama has learned lessons from his meetings with remarkable people from all walks of life and used these to become a better and more rounded individual.

    Approaching the world with humour, dignity and optimism, the book covers how the Dalai Lama not only empathised with those who are suffering, but also demonstrated the benefits of practising forgiveness and compassion.

    Drawing on some of unique friendships formed over seven decades of practice, this captivating book, written by the Dalai Lama with Victor Chan, shows how when you open your heart and mind to others, you can not only overcome adversity, but also find happiness and fulfilment.
  • AOVXR
    Frederick Forsyth
    • £16.00
    • RRP £20.00
    • Save £4.00
    Frederick Forsyth has seen it all. And lived to tell the tale. 'We all make mistakes, but starting the Third World War would have been a rather large one. To this day, I still maintain it was not entirely my fault. But I'm getting ahead of myself. During the course of my life, I've barely escaped the wrath of an arms dealer in Hamburg, been strafed by a MiG during the Nigerian civil war, and landed during a bloody coup in Guinea-Bissau. The Stasi arrested me, the Israelis regaled me, the IRA prompted a quick move from Ireland to England, and a certain attractive Czech secret police agent - well, her actions were a bit more intimate. And that's just for starters. All of that I saw from the inside. But all that time I was, nonetheless, an outsider.' Trained first as a pilot, then as a journalist, Frederick Forsyth finally turned to fiction and became one of the most lauded thriller writers of our time. As exciting as his novels, Forsyth's autobiography is a candid look at an extraordinary life lived to the full, a life whose unique experiences have provided rich inspiration for thirteen internationally bestselling thrillers.
  • AAITD
    Maya Angelou
    • £7.19
    • RRP £8.99
    • Save £1.80
    Maya Angelou's six volumes of autobiography are a testament to the talents and resilience of this extraordinary writer. Loving the world, she also knows its cruelty. As a Black woman she has known discrimination and extreme poverty, but also hope, joy, achievement and celebration. In this first volume of her six books of autobiography, Maya Angelou beautifully evokes her childhood with her grandmother in the American south of the 1930s. She learns the power of the white folks at the other end of town and suffers the terrible trauma of rape by her mother's lover. 'I write about being a Black American woman, however, I am always talking about what it's like to be a human being. This is how we are, what makes us laugh, and this is how we fall and how we somehow, amazingly, stand up again' Maya Angelou
  • AEIZI
    Wendy Thompson
    • £8.79
    • RRP £10.99
    • Save £2.20
    This is an illustrated encyclopedia of the lives and works of the world's best composers. This is an authoritative guide to the lives and works of the 100 most famous classical composers encompassing all styles of composition from medieval times to the present day. It features at-a-glance fact boxes that summarize the composers' lives and key works. It includes a biography for each composer, with historical information about events and artistic movements of the time and a look at how the composer influenced or changed the development of their art form. It is fully illustrated with over 500 photographs and illustrations featuring composers' portraits, the places they are associated with, scenes from their ballets or operas, and examples of their handwritten manuscripts. This authoritative volume provides a beautifully illustrated guide to the most influential composers of classical music: those who have defined or developed particular styles of composition and created for themselves a significant place in music history. Starting from medieval times, the book gives detailed biographies covering the life and times of each composer, listing their most important works and placing them in their historical context. For the enthusiast looking for a reference volume of their favourite composers, or for all those who love classical music and want to find out more, "The Great Composers" is an essential companion.
  • ADBFU
    Peter Ackroyd
    • £10.39
    • RRP £12.99
    • Save £2.60
    Peter Ackroyd's marvellous biography is a living attempt to reach into the heart of Shakespeare.He creates an intimate and immediate connection with his subject, so that the book reads like the work of a contemporary - meeting Shakespeare afresh on his own ground.Written with intuition and imagination unique to Peter Ackroyd, this is a book by a writer about a writer, and a fascinating and detailed depiction of the world Shakespeare inhabited.
  • ABLHC
    Judy Golding
    • £14.44
    • RRP £16.99
    • Save £2.55

    The Children of Lovers is an interesting, intelligent memoir, written in an engaging and unsentimental style. In 1993, Golding died after an evening with the family, drunk and alone, at about 4am a bad time for a sufferer of night terrors... On the same night, in a nearby room, Judy had a prophetic dream that at last she could think and write whatever she liked. This book, so clear thinking and devoid of self-pity has emerged from that discovery. While William Golding may give The Children of Lovers its heft and weight, the author gives it wings, and her book takes flight in a light-spirited way that those brilliant, brilliant, demon-haunted novels never quite did.

  • AGEWH
    Paul Auster
    • £16.00
    • RRP £20.00
    • Save £4.00
    Although Paul Auster and J.M. Coetzee had been reading each other's books for years, the two writers did not meet until February 2008. Not long after, Auster received a letter from Coetzee, suggesting they begin exchanging letters on a regular basis and, "God willing, strike sparks off each other". "Here and Now" is the result of that proposal: an epistolary dialogue between two great writers who became great friends. Over three years their letters touched on nearly every subject, from sports to fatherhood, film festivals to incest, philosophy to politics, from the financial crisis to art, family, marriage, friendship, and love. Their correspondence offers an intimate and often amusing portrait of these two men as they explore the complexities of the here and now and is a reflection of two sharp intellects whose pleasure in each other's friendship is apparent on every page.
  • AGWML
    Fiona Maddocks
    • £12.34
    • RRP £12.99
    • Save £0.65
    Best known today as a fine composer, the twelfth-century German abbess Hildegard of Bingen was also a religious leader and visionary, a poet, naturalist and writer of medical treatises. Despite her cloistered life she had strong, often controversial views on sex, love and marriage too - a woman astonishing in her own age, whose book of apocalyptic visions, Scivias, would alone have been enough to ensure her lasting fame. In this classic and highly praised biography - first published by Headline in 2001 - distinguished writer and journalist, Fiona Maddocks, draws on Hildegard's prolific writings to paint a portrait of her extraordinary life against the turbulent medieval background of crusade and schism, scientific discovery and cultural revolution. The great intellectual gifts and forceful character that emerge make her as fascinating as any figure in the Middle Ages. More than 800 years after her death, Pope Benedict XVI has made Hildegard a Saint and a Doctor of the Church (one of only four women). Fiona Maddocks has provided a short new preface to cover these tributes to an extraordinary and exceptional woman.
  • ALJXI
    James Bowen
    (1)
    • £10.39
    • RRP £12.99
    • Save £2.60
    Readers have fallen in love with the tale of James and Bob, a street cat James found abandoned in the hallway of his sheltered accommodation and now James Bowen is back with the follow-up to A Street Cat Named Bob and The World According to Bob with a touching festive story of the inseparable pair titled A Gift from Bob.

    Looking back at the last Christmas they spent scraping a living together on the streets of London, the book details how Bob helped James through one of his toughest times by providing him with strength, friendship and inspiration - while also teaching him an important lesson about the true meaning of Christmas.

    An extraordinary real-life tale of the transcendence of friendship and love, A Gift from Bob is the ideal Christmas gift for anyone who has fallen for the pair's earlier books or for those who simply adore animals.
  • AENME
    Claire Tomalin
    • £7.99
    • RRP £9.99
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    Claire Tomalin brings her extraordinary gifts of scholarship, fluent writing and empathy for her subjects to bear on one of our greatest, and most elusive, novelists. Widely acclaimed as the finest of Austen biographies, the book offers us "a brave, sharp-tongued character who fairly bounces off the page". (Val Hennesy). And along the way it gives us an "authoratative, graceful,succinct account of a wide swathe of English society which brilliantly illuminates' the novelist". (Victoria Glendinning).
  • AJXBG
    Laurie Lee
    • £11.99
    • RRP £14.99
    • Save £3.00
    This is a beautiful new edition of Laurie Lee's celebrated autobiographical trilogy: Cider with Rosie, As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning and A Moment of War. 'I was set down from the carrier's cart at the age of three; and there with a sense of bewilderment and terror my life in the village began.' 'This trilogy is a sequence of early recollections, beginning with the dazzling lights and sounds of my first footings on earth in a steep Cotswold valley some three miles long. For nineteen years this was the limit of my world, then one midsummer morning I left home and walked to London and down the blazing length of Spain during the innocent days of the early thirties. Never had I felt so fat with time, so free to go where I would. Then such indulgence was suddenly broken by the savage outbreak of the Civil War..." (Laurie Lee).
  • ADZTO
    Wendy Thompson
    • £7.99
    • RRP £9.99
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    This title covers the lives and works of the great musical creators of the Medieval, Baroque and Classical eras, with 200 illustrations. This is a guide to over 30 of the most famous composers from the Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque and Classical eras, including Palestrina, Bach, Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert. It includes biographies for each composer, with historical information about the musical eras, events and artistic movements of the time, and how the composers influenced or changed the development of their art form. Chronologically arranged, the expert text features at-a-glance fact boxes summarizing the composers' key works. This book provides an illustrated guide to the most influential composers from the beginnings of composition in the 12th century to the golden age of Western music in the mid-19th century. The entries for each composer are accompanied by full-colour photographs and fine art, showing their portraits, the places where they lived and worked, and scenes from their ballets or operas. The expert text explains how each composer fitted into society, other events and artistic movements that were occurring at the same time, and how their work was regarded by other composers and the public. Throughout the book there are at-a-glance guides to each composer's nationality, place of birth, principal works and musical style.
  • AGWIF
    Jennifer Kloester
    • £7.19
    • RRP £8.99
    • Save £1.80
    The ground-breaking biography of one of Britain's best-loved and best-selling novelists. Georgette Heyer remains an enduring international bestseller, read and loved by four generations of readers and extolled by today's bestselling authors. Despite her enormous popularity she never gave an interview or appeared in public. Georgette Heyer wrote her first novel, The Black Moth, when she was seventeen in order to amuse her convalescent brother. It was published in 1921 to instant success and it has never been out of print. A phenomenon even in her own lifetime, to this day she is the undisputed queen of regency romance. During ten years of research into Georgette Heyer's life and writing, Jennifer Kloester has had unlimited access to Heyer's notebooks and private papers and the Heyer family records, and exclusive access to several untapped archives of Heyer's early letters.
  • ABRHI
    Ernest Hemingway
    • £5.59
    • RRP £6.99
    • Save £1.40
    Published posthumously in 1964, "A Moveable Feast" remains one of Ernest Hemingway's most beloved works. Since Hemingway's personal papers were released in 1979, scholars have examined and debated the changes made to the text before publication. Now this new special restored edition presents the original manuscript as the author prepared it to be published. Featuring a personal foreword by Patrick Hemingway, Ernest's sole surviving son, and an introduction by the editor and grandson of the author, Sean Hemingway, this new edition also includes a number of unfinished, never-before-published Paris sketches revealing experiences that Hemingway had with his son Jack and his first wife, Hadley. Also included are irreverent portraits of other luminaries, such as F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ford Madox Ford, and insightful recollections of his own early experiments with his craft. Sure to excite critics and readers alike, the restored edition of "A Moveable Feast" brilliantly evokes the exuberant mood of Paris after World War I and the unbridled creativity and unquenchable enthusiasm that Hemingway himself epitomised.
  • AJOTM
    Piers Dudgeon
    • £7.99
    • RRP £9.99
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    Maeve Binchy's heart-warming tales of love, life and loss made her one of Ireland's most celebrated writers. Seared with a truth and honesty that leapt from the page, her books captured the imagination and loyalty of millions of readers, for whom there was no greater storyteller. In his bestselling biography, Piers Dudgeon gives a privileged insight into a life at once so familiar and yet so extraordinary, played against the backdrop of her favourite character: Ireland. Here, Maeve, who always had so much love to give, experienced the agonies of growing up the girl that nobody wanted to dance with, and the student who could never live up to her parents' hopes. Here, finally, she came to question the dogma that surrounded her, and found her own path, liberated from the narrow rules of convention. Maeve Binchy: The Biography reveals her triumphant struggle, and presents a powerful tribute to a phenomenal storytelling talent.
  • AENOM
    Claire Tomalin
    • £7.99
    • RRP £9.99
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    From Claire Tomalin, bestselling author of "Samuel Pepys", comes "Charles Dickens", the definitive biography of our greatest novelist who brought us "Great Expectations", "Oliver Twist", "A Christmas Carol", "A Tale of Two Cities" and "Nicholas Nickleby" - for fans of Peter Ackroyd "Charles Dickens" was a phenomenon: a demonicly hardworking journalist, the father of ten children, a tireless walker and traveller, a supporter of liberal social causes, but most of all a great novelist - the creator of characters who live immortally in the English imagination: the Artful Dodger, Mr Pickwick, Pip, David Copperfield, Little Nell, Lady Dedlock, and many more. At the age of twelve he was sent to work in a blacking factory by his affectionate but feckless parents. From these unpromising beginnings, he rose to scale all the social and literary heights, entirely through his own efforts. When he died, the world mourned, and he was buried - against his wishes - in Westminster Abbey. Yet the brilliance concealed a divided character: a republican, he disliked America; sentimental about the family in his writings, he took up passionately with a young actress; usually generous, he cut off his impecunious children. "Charles Dickens: A Life" paints an unforgettable portrait of Dickens, capturing brilliantly the complex character of this great genius. "By far the most humane and imaginatively sympathetic account yet for the general reader". (Amanda Craig, "New Statesman"). "Flawless ...fascinating". (William Boyd, "Observer"). Claire Tomalin is the author of seven highly acclaimed biographies, including "Samuel Pepys: The Unequalled Self", which was the 2002 Whitbread Book of the Year. Her previous book on Dickens, "The Invisible Woman", an account of his relationship with the actress Ellen Ternan, won three major literary prizes. A former literary editor of the "New Statesman" and the "Sunday Times", she is married to the playright and novelist Michael Frayn.