Literary Birthday – 16 January – Stella Tillyard

Happy Birthday, Stella Tillyard, born 16 January 1957.


  1. I work in two places – here in my big double sitting-room, and in my 1950s flat in Florence. It has two huge windows with views towards Fiesole. The sitting-room here looks over a public garden square. So I look out over green.
  2.  I always find that I can get something new out of ‘War and Peace’, and I’ve read it five times.
  3. Life; too much life. That turbulence is a necessary ingredient for the work – but also makes it more difficult.
  4. I’ve always thought that one of the reasons why people read biography is to find out ordinary things. We tend to read the lives of extraordinary people in order to find out details of ordinary life.
  5. Lives have plots. We narrate them over the telephone and over e-mail. The sisters narrate them in letters. These women are great readers of all kinds of novels, and they see plot lines in their own lives.

Stella Tillyard is an English author and historian. She is best known for her popular work, Aristocrats: Caroline, Emily, Louisa, and Sarah Lennox, 1740-1832, which was made into a BBC mini-series. Aristocrats won the History Today Award, the Fawcett Prize, and the Meilleur Livre Etranger. Tides of War is her first novel.

Source for quotes: Independent / Source for quotes: Stella Tillyard

by Amanda Patterson

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Posted on: 16th January 2017