Ros Barber - The Marlowe Papers - Hodder & Stoughton

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The Marlowe Papers

By Ros Barber

  • Hardback
  • £20.00

An outstanding verse novel, which recreates the dramatic story of Christopher Marlowe's life and shows how he could have written the works attributed to Shakespeare - a provocative, persuasive and enthralling tour de force.

*WINNER OF THE DESMOND ELLIOTT PRIZE 2013*

On May 30th, 1593, a celebrated young playwright was killed in a tavern brawl in London. That, at least, was the official version. Now Christopher Marlowe reveals the truth: that his 'death' was an elaborate ruse to avoid being convicted of heresy; that he was spirited across the Channel to live on in lonely exile; that he continued to write plays and poetry, hiding behind the name of a colourless man from Stratford - one William Shakespeare.

With the grip of a thriller and the emotional force of a sonnet, this remarkable novel in verse gives voice to a man who was brilliant, passionate and mercurial. A cobbler's son who counted nobles among his friends, a spy in the Queen's service, a fickle lover and a declared religious sceptic, he was always courting trouble.

Memoir, love letter, confession, settling of accounts and a cry for recognition as the creator of some of the most sublime works in the English language, The Marlowe Papers brings Christopher Marlowe and his era to vivid life. Written by a poet and scholar, it is a work of exceptional art, erudition and imagination.

Biographical Notes

Ros Barber is the author of three poetry collections. Her poems have featured in publications that include Poetry Review, London Magazine, the Guardian and Independent on Sunday, and in anthologies published by Faber, Virago and Anvil Press. She has a PhD on Marlowe, and jointly won the Hoffman Prize 2011 for The Marlowe Papers. She lives in Brighton and has four children.

  • Other details

  • ISBN: 9781444737387
  • Publication date: 24 May 2012
  • Page count: 464
  • Imprint: Sceptre
The best book I've read for a long time. Truly innovative, truly original, and a powerful poetic journey to another truth. Ros Barber has told a great story, in a fascinating way, so fascinating that she had someone like me gripped to the very end. This really is a joy to read and a true work of art. — Benjamin Zephaniah
This rich and charmingly playful work avoids the potential for whimsy inherent in such an undertaking. The thrill at reimagining the events and era comes through wave after wave in Barber's blank verse. — Adam O'Riordan, Sunday Telegraph
This is effortlessly better stuff than many far more trumpeted poets can produce, even on a good day...The Marlowe Papers is the best read, so far, this year. — Martin Newell, Sunday Express
This terrifically accomplished and enjoyable novel/play/poem, call it what you like, restores one's faith in English fiction. — Fay Weldon
Barber ingeniously weaves the action of the plays and sonnets into her story...The verse is subtle and varied enough never to disturb the ear, and in fact you forget that you're reading poetry at all. This is no bawdy cod-Shakespearean romp. — Suzi Feay, Financial Times
Lush, inspired and provocative, this spellbinding dossier conjures up a bewitching Marlowe. — Kirkus
'A rare find indeed - searing poetry meets compelling narrative in a historical tour de force that had me ripping through the pages.' — Robyn Young
now that I've reached the end I want to go back and read it all again...Written in Marlowe's voice the reader doesn't need to know his work or that of Shakespeare to enjoy the book and relish the accomplishment of the author...The proof copy I read is already battered with rereading. I will be buying myself a hardback copy when it comes out. Don't buy it on an e-reader, buy a proper copy and hold it lovingly as you read. — Newbooksmag.com
The Marlowe Papers grips. — John Sutherland, The Times
The Marlowe Papersis a bravura performance: a noir thriller in doublet and hose, illuminated by images as startling as lightning. — Simon Worrall, author of The Poet and the Murderer
this highly ambitious debut makes for an engrossing read...brought to life by smatterings of exquisitely poetic descriptions and turns of phrase worthy of the Bard himself, whoever he was. — David Clack, Time Out
Themes of identity and self-esteem, of truth and loyalty, give substance to Barber's enthralling plot in a work that combines historical erudition with a sharply satisfying read. Marlowe's passion infects the page; Barber's skill draws the fever. — James Urquhart, Independent
A magnificently original novel...this is a marvellous reconstruction of a life, told beautifully...A truly superb achievement. — Lesley McDowell, Glasgow Herald
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C.W. Gortner is half-Spanish by birth and spent his formative years in southern Spain, where his lifelong fascination with history began. His books have garnered international acclaim and been translated into fourteen languages to date. He divides his time between Northern California and Antigua, Guatemala. He welcomes visitors at: www.cwgortner.com.

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Clare Morrall's first novel, Astonishing Splashes of Colour, was published in 2003 and shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize that year. She has since published the novels Natural Flights of the Human Mind, The Language of Others, The Man Who Disappeared, which was a TV Book Club Summer Read in 2010, The Roundabout Man and After the Bombing.Born in Exeter, Clare Morrall now lives in Birmingham. She works as a music teacher, and has two daughters.

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Writer and educator Cynthia Bond has taught writing to homeless and at-risk youth throughout Los Angeles for over fifteen years.She attended Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism, then moved to New York and attended the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. Cynthia acted for many years in New York with the Negro Ensemble Company. A PEN Rosenthal Fellow, Cynthia founded the Blackbird Writing Collective in 2011.At present, Bond teaches therapeutic writing at Paradigm Malibu Adolescent Treatment Center. A native of East Texas, she lives in Los Angeles with her daughter.Ruby, an Oprah Book Club 2.0 pick, is her first novel and it was shortlisted for the 2016 Baileys' Women's Fiction prize.cynthiabond.comfacebook.com/cynthiabondrubytwitter.com/cynthiabond

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Born in 1969, David Mitchell grew up in Worcestershire. After graduating from Kent University, he taught English in Japan, where he wrote his first novel, Ghostwritten. Published in 1999, it was awarded the Mail on Sunday John Llewellyn Rhys Prize and shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award. His second novel, number9dream, was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, and in 2003, David Mitchell was selected as one of Granta's Best of Young British Novelists. His third novel, Cloud Atlas, was shortlisted for six awards including the Man Booker Prize, and adapted for film in 2012. It was followed by Black Swan Green, shortlisted for the Costa Novel of the Year Award, and The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet, which was a No. 1 Sunday Times bestseller. Both were also longlisted for the Booker. In 2013, The Reason I Jump: One Boy's Voice From the Silence of Autism by Naoki Higashida was published in a translation from the Japanese by David Mitchell and KA Yoshida. It was an immediate bestseller in the UK and later in the US as well.

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Davina Langdale studied Zoology at Bristol University, and worked with 93 chimpanzees and a hippo in Northern Zambia. She returned to the UK to take a postgraduate diploma in journalism at the London College of Printing, and after a brief stint in that field she realised that fiction was her true love. The Brittle Star is her first novel.

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Declan Hughes was born in Dublin, where he lives with his wife and daughters. He has worked as a playwright and director and co-founded the award-winning Rough Magic Theatre Company, where he was artistic director and writer-in-residence. The first in the series of Ed Loy mysteries, The Wrong Kind of Blood, won the Shamus Award for best first novel and the third, The Dying Breed, was nominated for the prestigious Edgar Allan Poe award for best novel.

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Dorothy L Sayers was born in Oxford in 1893, and was both a classical scholar and a graduate in modern languages. As well as her popular Lord Peter Wimsey series, she wrote several religious plays, but considered her translations of Dante's Divina Commedia to be her best work. She died in 1957.www.sayers.org.uk

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Edward Kelsey Moore lives in Chicago with his partner of many years. Having trained with some of the world's finest musicians, he has travelled widely and recorded extensively during his lengthy career as a professional cellist. Edward's literary work often reflects both his life as a musician and his upbringing as the backsliding son of a Baptist preacher. His short fiction has appeared in several literary magazines and on Public Radio. Like Dora in THE SUPREMES AT EARL'S ALL-YOU-CAN-EAT, Edward is also an avid gardener; like Odette, his horticultural projects are not always successful. THE SUPREMES AT EARL'S ALL-YOU-CAN-EAT is Edward Kelsey Moore's first novel. Find out more on Edward's website at www.edwardkelseymoore.com or Facebook page www.facebook.com/EdwardKelseyMooreauthor and follow him on Twitter @edkmoore.

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Dr Gervase Phinn is a teacher, freelance lecturer, author, poet, educational consultant and visiting professor of education. For fourteen years he taught in a range of schools, then acted as General Adviser for Language Development in Rotherham before moving on to North Yorkshire, where he spent ten years as a school inspector - time that has provided much source material for his books. He has four grown up children and four grandchildren and lives near Doncaster. Visit Gervase's website, www.gervase-phinn.com.

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