Claire Tomalin Coming to Winchester

Acclaimed biographer Claire Tomalin is coming to Winchester for an evening talk in January, in celebration of her brand new book ‘A Life of My Own’. Winchester Guildhall welcomes the writer for an evening in conversation with John Miller, in aid of local charity Home Start Winchester.

Claire is an expert at exploring the life and times of great writers, this time she will be discussing her own experiences and the extraordinary career that has lead her to write biographies of the likes of Charles Dickens, Jane Austen and Thomas Hardy.

Charles Dickens : a life / Claire Tomalin
Claire Tomalin paints an unforgettable portrait of Dickens, capturing brilliantly the complex character of this great genius.

The Invisible Woman: the story of Nelly Ternan and Charles Dickens / Claire Tomalin.
Claire Tomalin’s story of the life of Nelly Ternan and Charles Dickens returns the neglected actress to her rightful place in history as well as providing a compelling and truthful portrait of the great Victorian novelist.

Claire’s various works are all available on the library catalogue, including several in eBook format:

Jane Austen: A Life by Claire Tomalin
The unequalled self is the astonishing biography of Samuel Pepys by bestselling author Claire Tomalin

Samuel Pepys: The Unequalled Self by Claire Tomalin
The unequalled self is the astonishing biography of Samuel Pepys by bestselling author Claire Tomalin


As one of the best biographers of her generation, Tomalin has written about great novelists and poets to huge success: now, she turns to look at her own life in her latest work ‘A Life of My Own‘, providing insights into her biographical writing.

A life of my own / Claire Tomalin
This enthralling memoir follows her through triumph and tragedy in about equal measure, from the disastrous marriage of her parents and the often difficult wartime childhood that followed, to her own marriage to the brilliant young journalist Nicholas Tomalin.


As an experienced speaker, academic and broadcaster, as well as an organiser of exhibitions and many public events, the talk promises to be fascinating. Her previous visits to Winchester were all sellouts, so early booking is advised for all those eager to hear one of our great writers talking about her eventful life. The talk will be followed by a book signing.

The event begins at 6:00pm on Saturday 13th January 2018 at The Guildhall Winchester. Tickets are £12 each including the booking fee, and are available online or call 01962 851177.

My Animals and Other Family by Clare Balding

About the book

I had spent most of my childhood thinking I was a dog, and suspect I had aged in dog years.’

Clare Balding grew up in a rather unusual household. Her father a champion trainer, she shared her life with more than 100 thoroughbred racehorses, mares, foals and ponies, as well as an ever-present pack of boxers and lurchers. As a toddler she would happily ride the legendary Mill Reef and take breakfast with the Queen.

She and her younger brother came very low down the pecking order. Left to their own devices, they had to learn life’s toughest lessons through the animals, and through their adventures in the stables and the idyllic Hampshire Downs. From the protective Candy to the pot-bellied Valkyrie and the frisky Hattie, each horse and each dog had their own character and their own special part to play.

The running family joke was that “women ain’t people”. Clare had to prove them wrong, to make her voice heard – but first she had to make sure she had something to say.

Reviewed by Ringwood Readers

“An interesting, well structured and funny book. A good, touching, relaxing read”

star rating ***




Bad blood by Lorna Sage

book cover

About the book

Bad Blood brings alive in vivid detail a time – the 40s and 50s – not so distant from us but now disappeared. It tells the story of a childhood and adolescence dominated by an array of family members.

Reviewed by New Forest/Waterside U3A theatre and literature group

The group rated this book highly for its readability and regretted that we are unlikely to have the joy of more of Lorna Sage’s writing. While the description of vicarage life and the atrociousness of village schooling shocked some of the group a “round the table” expose of everyone’s schooldays settled the authenticity of the writing. That Lorna broke the mould was clear but our discussion revealed in how many ways and to what extent, fuelled by her anger, she drew from disadvantage a positive outcome.

Star rating: ***

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Open by Andre Agassi

book cover

About the book

Coaxed to swing a racket while still in the crib, forced to hit hundreds of balls a day while still in grade school, Agassi resented the constant pressure even as he drove himself to become a prodigy, an inner conflict that would define him. Now, in his beautiful, haunting autobiography, Agassi tells the story of a life framed by such conflicts.

Reviewed by HIP Andover Reading Group:

Tedious reading with dates etc. Reveals the often ugly aspects of sporting ‘success’. Redeeming character features towards end with new life and college.

Star rating: **

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Deep France by Celia Brayfield

About the book

Deep France is the diary of a writer’s year in a tiny French village, trying to meet her deadlines when a good thunderstorm could blow out the computer and there were always artichokes to pick. It’s a walk in teh swashbuckling footsteps of The Three Musketeers and King Henri IV, full of funny and perceptive anecdotes about the year in which France had to face the euro, the World Cup and Le Pen’s presidential campaign.

Reviewed by BBC Boaters Book Club:

It was considered to be: a poorly constructed book written by a smug author. Not everyone finished it.

Star rating: * – **

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