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About the Author

PETER ACKROYD is the biographer of William Shakespeare, T. S. Eliot, Dickens, Blake, and Thomas More, and the author of the bestselling London: The Biography. The subject of his previous Brief Life was Isaac Newton. He has won the Whitbread Biography Award, the Royal Society of Literature's William Heinemann Award (jointly) and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, and is the holder of a CBE for services to literature. He is the author of Thames: The Biography. His novels include The Last Testament of Oscar Wilde (winner of the Somerset Maugham Award), Hawksmoor (Guardian Fiction Prize), Chatterton (short-listed for the Booker Prize) and most recently The Fall of Troy. He lives in London.


"Ackroyd is like a literary spiritualist who summons up the voices of the dead and encourages them to possess his writing.... [Poe] is as short and sharp as a flick-knife."
-Daily Telegraph

"Ackroyd reveals a man ahead of his time, an extraordinary genius..."
-Daily Express "[a] deft, lively summary"
-The Spectator "Ackroyd...makes the reader want to re-read Poe, and indeed to read more of Ackroyd on Poe."
-Scotland on Sunday "Poe's brilliant, erratic, abbreviated career stands to gain rather than lose from the form of brief life patented by Ackroyd. A short biography is not a long one shrunk. Instead of patiently accumulated details, emotional complexity and architectural shaping, it operates by lightening strikes, atmospheric colouring, impressionistic techniques of concision and suggestion."
-Observer "With an adept ventriloquism Ackroyd weaves together contemporary testimony with his own crisp narrative...a vivid recreation of the life and sensibility that lay behind the work."
-Evening Standard "A dark subject, but a light read"
-Waterstone's Books Quarterly "admirably captures the heady mix of the esoteric, grotesque and thoroughly modern in Poe."
-Sunday Times "Peter Ackroyd is the Micky Spillane of English letters; scarcely a morning goes by without a brilliant new novel, history or biography popgunning out into the shops from his uber-fecund pen... his standards are high and his imagination and erudition greater than most other shopfillers.... informative, still atmospheric, and from time to time clearly the work of a very fine writer"
-Word "Such a Hammer horror biography-a veritable car-crash of a life-is tailor-made for a writer such as Ackroyd. He sustains its intensity in these 160 pages"
-Sunday Telegraph "an apt biographer for Poe"
-The Irish Times "informative and well-written"
-The Herald "succinct and elegant ... illuminating"
-Times Literary Supplement "[Poe] recounts Poe's tumultuous and peripatetic personal and professional life in a tone equal parts crisp and Gothic."
-Los Angeles Times "Often insightful, sometimes stunning.'
-Kirkus Reviews

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