Saturday, November 3, 2012

Featured Author: Peter Ackroyd

“And when I was young, did I ever tell you, I always wanted to get inside
a book and never come out again? I loved reading so much I wanted
to be a part of it, and there were some books I could have stayed in
for ever.”  ― Peter Ackroyd, First Light

Are you a fan of historical fiction?  Do you enjoy reading a good literary biography?  Consider the works of British writer Peter Ackroyd!  His award-winning fictions & histories are a must-read for any Anglophile, and his massive oeuvre, containing histories, retellings of classics, and inventive novels, has a little something for everyone.   Ackroyd is noted for a narrative style that brings history to life.
Histories of England

In a 2008 Guardian online profile, Peter Ackroyd said "London has always provided the landscape for my imagination. It becomes a character - a living being - within each of my books." Whether exploring the geological layers of London, the building of Stonehenge, or connections between the Thames and historical figures, Ackroyd's sociological histories are lively and insightful, full of keen observations. 

Ackroyd's Brief Lives

The books in the Brief Lives series are about 200 in pages in length - a brief read indeed in this age when many books seem more likely to be 400 - 600 pages!  Ackroyd has planned this series to showcase the lives of a variety of cultural figures.


Ackroyd's "inventive, imaginative" biographies are definitely longer than his Brief Lives, though he also focuses on cultural figures in these works.  Publisher's Weekly called Ackroyd "an accomplished literary biographer" - his biographies are meticulously researched, but imbued with his own narrative flair that keeps readers locked in to the story.

Retellings of Classics

With The Canterbury Tales, Ackroyd translates the classic poem into the prose vernacular.  His Death of King Arthur streamlines the plot for modern-day readers.

Ackroyd brings his unique take to fiction with novels such as The Clerkenwell Tales, which features well-known characters from Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, but creates new stories for them; The Casebook of Victor Frankenstein is told in the voice of the doctor, but also counts as characters Lord Byron and Mary Shelley herself. 
Peter Ackroyd has also written a series of books for children called Voyages Through Time.

 Find Peter Ackroyd's works in the library catalog!

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