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The Burning Glass

The Life of Naomi Mitchison

Jenni Calder

The Burning Glass by Jenni Calder

‘It is always a bore being ahead of one’s time.’

Naomi Mitchison was a novelist, socialist, feminist and tireless campaigner for sexual freedom. She lived through the entire twentieth century and wrote more than seventy books. Her political activism took her from the Soviet Union to her adopted Botswana as a champion of liberty and equality. The Burning Glass draws a fascinating portrait of a truly inspiring life.

RRP: £9.99
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9781912240661
Publication Date: 13/06/2019
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Jenni Calder
Jenni Calder is the author of many books, including biographies of Sir Walter Scott, Robert Louis Stevenson and George Orwell. She lives in Edinburgh. Formerly head of National Museums of...


‘Jenni Calder's biography of Naomi Mitchison is a well-paced journey through a fascinating life which is difficult to put down. Calder approaches Mitchison's various idiosyncrasies with a clear-eyed affection and a total lack of judgment. Her experiences should be the start of many feminist conversations about the dynamics of love affairs and sexual politics, and how women are treated as they age.’

Holly Baxter, The Independent


The Herald

‘A warm and sympathetic biography of a full and wonderfully varied life... very good.’

The Scotsman

‘Jenni Calder captures the essence of this extraordinary woman in an engrossing biography.’

5 star review, Scottish Field

‘Born into privilege, she was nonetheless a committed socialist and feminist and worked all her life to give voice to the voiceless. [Mitchison] was not afraid either to challenge convention or to use her social position to overcome obstacles and get things done.’

James Robertson

‘An outstanding example of the biographer's art... "The Burning Glass" is the story of a life that deserves to be told: and which is told extremely well.’

Undiscovered Scotland

‘A biography that shall surely herald a new generation of fans’