Penelope Lively 1933–
Egyptian-born English novelist, short story writer, and author of books for children.
An award-winning author of literature for children, Lively is rapidly gaining recognition for her adult fiction as well. Her novels reveal her deep interest in history, time, and memory and their effect on human relationships and individual perceptions of life. For example, in The Road to Lichfield (1977), Lively's first adult novel, a young woman's fond memories of her deceased father are suddenly challenged when she learns that he had a lengthy extramarital affair.
While Lively maintains her thematic focus on the patterns of time and the importance of memory in all of her novels, she also explores a variety of other issues. In Judgement Day (1980) she confronts the difficulty of believing in a benevolent God when considering life's inexplicable hardships and tragedies, and in Next to Nature, Art (1982) she satirizes artistic pretensions. Perfect Happiness (1983) centers on a woman who comes to terms with the death of her famous husband.
(See also Children's Literature Review, Vol. 7; Contemporary Authors, Vols. 41-44, rev, ed.; Something about the Author, Vol. 7; and Dictionary of Literary Biography, Vol. 14.)