Friday, July 12, 2013

Ten female writers' favorite books

For forty years Virago has dedicated itself solely to publishing women’s writing. To mark the anniversary, ten female authors chose their favorite books from Virago's backlist.

Hilary Mantel's pick:
Angel by Elizabeth Taylor (1957)

At the end of Victoria’s reign Angel is 15, plain and peevish, the daughter of a provincial shopkeeper, a girl with no prospects. But she has secret assets: devouring ambition and a reckless way with words. When Angel begins to write scandalous novels about high society – of which she is totally ignorant – an adoring public laps them up. Elizabeth Taylor’s tender, funny, exquisitely stylish novel keeps us on Angel’s side, even though we are appalled by her narcissism and shocked into laughter by her self-delusion. She is a monster, but a delicious monster, and the novel poses, for writers, questions that don’t date. That’s why I’m so drawn to the book and have loved it for years; there’s a bit of Angel in every writer, I fear.
Read about the other nine books at the Telegraph.

--Marshal Zeringue