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Claire Tomalin was born in London in 1933 of a French father and an English mother, and was educated at Newnham College, Cambridge. She has worked in publishing and journalism all her life, becoming literary editor first of the New Statesman and then of the Sunday Times, which she left in 1986. She is also the author of The Life and Death of Mary Wollstonecraft, which won the Whitbread First Book Prize for 1974; Shelley and His World (reissued by Penguin in 1992); Katherine Mansfield- A Secret Life (Penguin 1988), a biography of the modernist writer on whom she also based her 1991 play The Winter Wife; the highly-acclaimed The Invisible Woman- The Story of Nelly Ternan and Charles Dickens (Penguin 1991), which won the NCR Book Award for 1991, as well as the Hawthornden Prize and the 1990 James Tait Black Memorial Prize for Biography; and Mrs Jordan's Profession (Penguin 1995), a study of the Regency actress. Other books written for Penguin are- Jane Austen- A Life and a collection of memoirs entitled Several Strangers.
"The Pepys we know lived for only nine years and five months. Tomalin gives us the rest of the man, and also a startling new way to read him." --Thomas Mallon, The New Yorker "Tomalin not only brings him back to vibrant life, but makes a powerful case that he's more central, more 'relevant' than we ever imagined . . . She has restored to us the whole Pepys." --Charles McGrath, New York Times Book Review, front cover "Brilliantly believable . . . It takes an exceptional biographer to go so confidently beyond the apparent totality of daily experience presented in Pepys's Diary . . . Claire Tomalin's life [of Pepys] is a magnificent triumph. Her research has been not just scrupulously thorough but dazzlingly imaginative." --Philip Hensher, Atlantic Monthly "Tomalin's writing is as supple and lively as Pepys's own, and by fleshing out the backdrop to his Diary writings, she has created the perfect bookend to his own rollicking self-portrait . . . The best work on Pepys since Robert Louis Stevenson's classic essay, published in 1881." --Michiko Kakutani, New York Times "Our greatest diarist, analyzed by one of our greatest biographers. Tomalin's flawless research and trademark empathy with her subjects should make this portrait of one of the most fascinating characters of 17th-century England the best biography of the autumn." --Caroline Gascoigne, Sunday Times (U.K.) "Immaculately well done. She writes with such beautiful clarity, always empathetic . . . There is about this biography a wisdom, an unforced feeling that the biographer has a sense of the way life is . . . Like all great biographies, Samuel Pepys: The Unequalled Self has a hint of the love letter about it. And it is a love that becomes contagious." --Craig Brown, The Mail on Sunday (U.K.)