Author(s): Patrick Marnham
The authorised, and astonishing, biography of Mary Wesley.
Mary Wesley famously began writing at the age of 70. Her ten best-selling novels won her thousands of fans, and described a world that she had known in her youth - the world of war-time London, with its fear and high-spirits and casual sex. They created an image of Mary that her fans took to their hearts, but it was an image that was carefully created and one that raised more questions than it answered. The real Mary Wesley had lived a life more fascinating, scandalous and passionate than any she created for her heroines. Behind the legend of Mary Wesley the novelist, was another woman, Mary Siepmann, who guarded her privacy fiercely. In the last year of her life she decided to reveal more of herself to her biographer, Patrick Marnham. Through hours of interviews and access to Mary's diaries, letters and unpublished memoirs, Patrick Marnham discovered her extraordinary true story. It is a story of near-suicide and reckless courage and tells of how a passionate and headstrong woman, born into a ruling class in decline turned her back on her privileged position; she knew both poverty and fame, but more than anything succeeded in living life on her own uncompromising terms.
First published 2006.
" Marnham has disentangled truth from rumour, clarified the many connections between Wild Mary's rackety life and Mary Wesley's fiction."
Patrick Marnham was born in Jerusalem, educated at Oxford and is a member of the English Bar. He is the author of eleven books, has been translated into seven languages and has won the Thomas Cook Travel Book Prize, the Marsh Biography Award, and was nominated for the Edgar Allen Poe Award in 1994. He started his career as a reporter on Private Eye and has contributed to many newspapers including The Times, Daily Telegraph, Observer, New York Times and Washington Post. He has been literary editor of the Spectator, was the first Paris correspondent of the Independent, and has worked as a BBC scriptwriter and broadcaster and as a special correspondent and war reporter.