At last it's happened, a dedicated website to the life and work of Penelope Fitzgerald and a great big cheer to the team in the US who have set this up. Somehow this still makes me feel that we don't understand or appreciate Penelope Fitzgerald quite as much as many feel she deserves here in the UK. That online presence has been a long time coming and just reading how insufferably Penelope Fitzgerald was treated when she won the Booker prize for Offshore leads me to wonder sometimes at the machinations of the literary establishment.
So I Have Thought of You the recent volume of Penelope Fitzgerald's letters is gathering interesting reviews and some criticism for its chronology. Letters are grouped according to the correspondent and the website has already provided a forum for the debate of this approach with input from Terry Dooley, son-in-law of Penelope Fitzgerald and editor of the volume.
To be honest the actual chronology of a book of letters is not something I've paid a huge amount of attention to in the past. I just read them and enjoy them in whatever context they are offered and accept what I'm given, assume it was deemed best given the material there was to work with.
A lovely Woman's Hour interview here with Julian Barnes and Penelope's daughter Tina.
Tina talks about her very unusual childhood and the very different mother that Penelope was. Her late-flowering writing career is carefully outlined and Penelope's intellectual but highly impractical nature emerges beautifully.
There's even Penelope herself talking to Jenny Murray in an interview years ago, so any fans out there absolutely don't miss it.
I've read all Penelope Fitzgerald's books now except for Innocence which I've been saving and saving almost fearing that moment when I've read them all.
I shall just have to go back to the beginning and start all over again, my first was The Bookshop, my second The Gate of Angels, that's how clearly I recall first reading Penelope Fitzgerald.