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Penelope Lively's Quotes

Penelope Lively profile photo

Born: 1933-03-17
Profession: Author
Nation: English
Biography of Penelope Lively

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I have had to empty two family homes during the last few years - first, the house that had been my grandmother's since 1923, and then my own country home, which we had lived in for over twenty years.

Tags: Country, Family, Home

I have long been interested in landscape history, and when younger and more robust I used to do much tramping of the English landscape in search of ancient field systems, drove roads, indications of prehistoric settlement.

Tags: History, Interested, Used

I'm not an historian and I'm not wanting to write about how I perceive the social change over the century as a historian, but as somebody who's walked through it and whose life has been dictated by it too, as all our lives are.

Tags: Change, Life, Write

I'm not an historian but I can get interested - obsessively interested - with any aspect of the past, whether it's palaeontology or archaeology or the very recent past.

Tags: Interested, Past, Whether

I'm writing another novel and I know what I'm going to do after, which may be something more like this again, maybe some strange mixture of fiction and non-fiction.

Tags: After, May, Writing

It was a combination of an intense interest in children's literature, which I've always had, and the feeling that I'd just have a go and see if I could do it.

Tags: Children, Feeling, Interest

Since then, I have just read and read - but, that said, I suppose there is a raft of writers to whom I return again and again, not so much because I want to write like them, even if I were capable of it, but simply for a sort of stylistic shot in the arm.

Tags: Again, Said, Write

Getting to know someone else involves curiosity about where they have come from, who they are.

Tags: Else, Getting, Someone

I'm intrigued by the way in which physical appearance can often direct a person's life; things happen differently for a beautiful woman than for a plain one.

Tags: Beautiful, Life, Woman

The pleasure of writing fiction is that you are always spotting some new approach, an alternative way of telling a story and manipulating characters; the novel is such a wonderfully flexible form.

Tags: Pleasure, Story, Writing

I'm now an agnostic but I grew up on the King James version, which I'm eternally grateful for.

Tags: Agnostic, Grateful, King

We all need a past - that's where our sense of identity comes from.

Tags: Identity, Past, Sense

All I know for certain is that reading is of the most intense importance to me; if I were not able to read, to revisit old favorites and experiment with names new to me, I would be starved - probably too starved to go on writing myself.

Tags: Able, Old, Writing

Deep down I have this atavistic feeling that really I should be in the country.

Tags: Country, Deep, Feeling

Equally, we require a collective past - hence the endless reinterpretations of history, frequently to suit the perceptions of the present.

Tags: History, Past, Present

Every novel generates its own climate, when you get going.

Tags: Climate, Novel

I didn't think I had anything particular to say, but I thought I might have something to say to children.

Tags: Children, Might, Thought

I didn't want it to be a book that made pronouncements.

Tags: Book

I didn't write anything until I was well over 30.

Tags: Until, Write

I do like to embed a fictional character firmly in an occupation.

Tags: Character, Fictional, Occupation

I rather like getting away from fiction.

Tags: Away, Getting, Rather

I've always been fascinated by the operation of memory - the way in which it is not linear but fragmented, and its ambivalence.

Tags: Fascinated, Memory, Operation

It seems to me that everything that happens to us is a disconcerting mix of choice and contingency.

Tags: Choice, Happens, Seems

The consideration of change over the century is about loss, though I think that social change is gain rather than loss.

Tags: Change, Rather, Social

The Photograph is concerned with the power that the past has to interfere with the present: the time bomb in the cupboard.

Tags: Past, Power, Time

The present hardly exists, after all-it becomes the past even as it happens. A tricky medium, time - and central to the concerns of fiction.

Tags: After, Past, Time
Much more quotes by Penelope Lively below the page.

There's a preoccupation with memory and the operation of memory and a rather rapacious interest in history.

Tags: History, Memory, Rather

We make choices but are constantly foiled by happenstance.

Tags: Choices, Constantly

We read Greek and Norse mythology until it came out of our ears. And the Bible.

Tags: Bible, Read, Until

You learn a lot, writing fiction.

Tags: Fiction, Learn, Writing

Conventional forms of narrative allow for different points of view, but for this book I wanted a structure whereby each of the main characters contributed a distinctive version of the story.

Tags: Book, Story, Wanted

I can walk about London and see a society that seems an absolutely revolutionary change from the 1950s, that seems completely and utterly different, and then I can pick up on something where you suddenly see that it's not.

Tags: Change, Society, Walk