Scottish author now living in London who won many literary awards
like Book of the Year of the New York Times Book Review.
Sheila MacLeod was born in the Isle of Lewis, Outer Hebrides,
Scotland. She studied at Wycombe Abbey School, Bucks., then at
Somerville College, Oxford, where she obtained a BA (Hons) Second
Class in English (1961) and an MA in English (1993).
She went to Birkbeck College, University of London, where she
obtained a BA First Class in French (1996) and was also a joint
winner of the Marjorie Gould Prize for the best results of the
In 1999 she obtained a MA Romance Languages (French) with Distinction
at Birkbeck College (University of London), and she is presently
studying for a PhD in French Literature at the same college. The
topic: Three French Writers Photographers after Roland Barthes
(Claude Simon, Denis Roche and Jean Baudrillard). It explores
the relationship between writing and photography.
She has published many books and earned many impressive awards.
The Moving Accident published by Faber & Faber (1968) and
The Snow-White Soliloquies published by Secker & Warburg (1970)
both earned her the Scottish Arts Council Publication Award.
Circuit-Breaker published by Bodley Head (1977) was a Runner-up
for the Guardian Fiction Prize.
The Art of Starvation, Virago (1981) (Autobiography/Psychology),
is her most successful book so far and was a runner-up for Elle
Readers’ Prize and was the first winner of the MIND Prize.
The book also was the New York Times Book Review: Book of the
Her second most successful book is Axioms, published by Quartet
(1984), and received huge coverage in newspapers and magazines
Other novels include Letters from the Portuguese (Secker &
Warburg, 1971), Xanthe and the Robots (Bodley Head, 1976) and
a Literary Criticism: Lawrence’s Men and Women (Heinemann,
She wrote other essays: "A Fairy Story" in Very Heaven:
Looking Back at the Sixties (Virago, 1988), "Drunken Drowning"
in A Certain Age (Virago, 1993), "It is Margaret You Mourn
For" in On the Death of a Parent (Virago, 1994) and again
"The Art of Starvation" in Mind Readings: Writers’
Journeys through Mental States (MIND/Minerva, 1996).
As a journalist, she was a regular reviewer of fiction for the
London Evening Standard 1982-8, and of educational TV, film, theatre
and books for The Times Educational Supplement, 1981-91.
She has been a contributor to The Observer, The Sunday Times,
The Guardian, The New Statesman, The Literary Review, The Times
Literary Supplement, The Times Educational Supplement, Vogue,
Cosmopolitan, Woman’s Journal, Honey and Good Housekeeping.
She was the Editor of Writers’ Newsletter, the magazine
of the Writers’ Guild of Great Britain.
In television she wrote the plays: They Put You Where You Are
(with Paul Jones from Manfred Mann), BBC 2, 1965, and God Speed
Co-operation, BBC 2, 1985.
She was a writer in Residence at the Napsbury Psychiatric Hospital,
St Alban’s, England, 1987.
Bibliography of Sheila MacLeod
SHEILA MACLEOD was born in the Isle of Lewis, Scotland. After
reading English Literature at Oxford University, she worked for
a time at the Clarendon Press, and in 1963 married a pop singer.
Some of her short stories appeared in Faber's Introduction 2 in
1963, and she wrote a play for BBC television in 1965. From 1969-78
she wrote five novels - The Moving Accident, The Snow-White Soliloquies,
Letters From The Portuguese, Xanthe And The Robots, Circuit-Breaker
(which was runner-up for the Guardian Fiction Prize). She now
lives in London.
Three short stories in Introduction 2, Faber & Faber, 1963.
Autobiography / Psychology
ART OF STARVATION
The Art of Starvation, Virago, 1981. (Winner MIND Prize (1981),
New York Times Book Review Book of the Year , runner-up
Elle Readers’ Prize(1982)).
The Art of starvation is the story of her personal confrontation
with anorexia nervosa, based on the diaries she kept at the time.
Combining these with her highly intelligent and original assessments
of the literature on the subject, Sheila MacLeod presents a remarkable
picture of an illness which is becoming alarmingly common (one
in every two hundred adolescent girls is at this moment starving
herself, possibly to death). But her book does much more. It confronts
the deeper issues involved in this vexed subject - problems of
adolescence and identity, power and powerlessness, sexuality,
relationships with parents, growing up female in our society.
Sheila MacLeod has given us important new insights into anorexia
as an illness and a state of mind.
The Snow-White Soliloquies, Secker & Warburg, 1970. (Scottish
Arts Council Publication Award)
THE MOVING ACCIDENT
The Moving Accident, Faber & Faber, 1968. (Scottish Arts
Council Publication Award)
The Moving Accident, Sheila MacLeod's first novel, is the story
of a pop singer's wife for whom the gay, swinging life subsists
only in fantasy. Jason Friend is public property: Una can rarely
go out with him because the fans mustn't know that he is married.
If she does, no one pays any attention to her in the excitement
that his presence produces. As Una becomes more and more isolated,
her imagination becomes increasingly violent until, at times,
she seems to be losing her grasp of reality. Sheila MacLeod describes
with extraordinary clarity her heroine's emotional confusion as
she hovers between a fantasy of perfect happiness such as the
public might dream up for her and a personal terror of complete
hopelessness. Una Friend is a contemporary heroine portrayed with
quite exceptional intellectual honesty and imagination.
FROM THE PORTUGUESE
Letters from the Portuguese, Secker & Warburg, 1971.
XANTHE AND THE ROBOTS
Xanthe and the Robots, Bodley Head, 1976.
Axioms, Quartet, 1984.
After sixteen years of marriage Claudia Hughes finally decides
to divorce her husband, a once-famous pop star, whose infidelities
and emotional dishonesty have become unbearable. He leaves to
live with his latest mistress while Claudia stays with their two
adolescent children, Josh and Matilda, trying to find the courage
to live alone. As she tries to outgrow her compulsion to conciliate
and comfort, her children have to come to terms with their father's
absence and, worse, his apparent lack of concern for them. Josh
reacts violently, while Matilda takes it out on herself. Her story,
which is skilfully interwoven with that of her mother, shows the
extent of her unhappiness. Frank and often shocking, Matilda's
reflections show how little mother and daughter can communicate
and yet how much they share in their struggle to establish their
own identity as individuals, not simply as 'wife' and 'daughter'.
Claudia and Matilda go through many bitter experiences and yet
in the end, emerge with a deeper understanding of what it is to
be a woman, which enables them to cope with them- selves and with
the world. Axioms is a powerfully written novel which explores
the battles all women have to fight - and win. Sheila MacLeod,
prize-winning author of The Art of Starvation, has written an
angry, irrefutable and unforgettable novel of broken marriages
and what it feels like to be left holding pieces.
Circuit-Breaker, Bodley Head, 1977. (Runner-up, Guardian Fiction
LAWRENCE'S MEN AND WOMEN
Lawrence’s Men and Women, Heinemann, 1985.
Following Kate Millet's devastating attack on him in Sexual Politics,
D. H. Lawrence's reputation amongst many women has been that of
misogynist bigot. This new feminist study of one of England's
greatest twentieth-century novelists, whilst not flinching from
the examination of some of his more repugnant notions, reaffirms
Lawrence as a courageous and honest explorer of the relations
between men and women. For all his phallic mysticism, Lawrence
remained more at home in the world of women, and more perceptive
about women's problems - when he could forgive them - than about
a masculine world to which he remained an outsider.
"A Fairy Story" in Very Heaven:
Looking Back at the Sixties, Virago, 1988.
"Drunken Drowning" in A Certain
Age, Virago, 1993.
"It is Margaret You Mourn For"
in On the Death of a Parent, Virago, 1994.
"The Art of Starvation" in
Mind Readings: Writers’ Journeys through Mental States,
Regular reviewer of fiction for The Evening Standard (London)
Regular reviewer of educational TV, film, theatre and books
for The Times Educational Supplement, 1981-91.
Contributor to The Observer, The Sunday Times, The Guardian,
The New Statesman, The Literary Review, The Times Literary Supplement,
The Times Educational Supplement, Vogue, Cosmopolitan, Woman’s
Journal, Honey, Good Housekeeping.
Presently Editor Writers’ Newsletter, the magazine of
the Writers’ Guild of Great Britain.
Television / Plays
They Put You Where You Are
(with Paul Jones), BBC 2, 1965.
God Speed Co-operation,
BBC 2, 1985.
Contact: Roland Michel Tremblay
Tel. : +44 (0)20 8847 5586 (London, UK)
E-mail : email@example.com
Sites : www.themarginal.com
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