Penelope Fitzgerald complained to her older daughter in 1999:
I have at the moment two pieces for the LRB to do (but have written to get out of one of them), an intro for Folio Society for Middlemarch, an intro for J.L. Carr’s A Month in the Country . . . a serious piece for the New York Times on Vol 2 of Richard Holmes’s Coleridge and a vexatious piece which I’m also trying to get out of, for the New York Times magazine on the Best Idea of the Past Millennium, an absurd subject.
Susannah Clapp, who worked on many of her pieces, has described her as an ideal contributor who needed no ‘handling’: ‘She wrote to length, she wrote to time, she wrote without fuss, she wrote a lot, and she wrote always with a steady brilliance.’ As a reviewer, she was appreciative, knowledgeable, succinct, and usually, though not always, benign.
– From Hermione Lee’s introduction
Featuring pieces for the LRB on subjects including Stevie Smith, Alain-Fournier, Adrian Mole, girls’ schools, Roddy Doyle, Wild Swans, wartime London, Anne Enright and Charlotte Mew, half of which haven’t been anthologised before, by the Booker Prize-winning author of Offshore and The Blue Flower.